Man acquitted in 18-month-old boy's wrestling move death

AP News
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Posted: Jun 21, 2016 5:26 PM

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania jury has acquitted a man in the death of his girlfriend's toddler, which he said occurred as he was mimicking a professional wrestling move.

The Lycoming County panel deliberated for less than two hours Monday before acquitting 21-year-old Brandon Hoffman of aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter and related counts.

Authorities said Hoffman was performing a wrestling move at his Jersey Shore apartment in May 2015 when he inadvertently slammed 18-month-old Bryson Shoemaker to the floor, causing fatal head injuries. Investigators say Hoffman was performing a move by The Undertaker known as "The Last Ride" and had intended for Bryson to land on a bed.

Hoffman's lawyer, William Miele, told jurors that "people play with young children and they play physically."

Assistant District Attorney Martin Wade called Hoffman's actions reckless.