JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – The Clark County man convicted of beating his four-month-old child was back in front of a judge for the first time, after being on the run for nearly a year.
Erik Valdez was arrested Thursday night in Clarksville for allegedly attacking his wife and threatening her with a knife. She texted 9-1-1 asking for help from police. Officers found Valdez with a warrant for his arrest, issued after he failed to attend the jury trial that convicted him for the abuse of his infant son.
In court Monday afternoon, Valdez is now facing new charges of intimidation, criminal recklessness and domestic battery for the alleged attack on his wife last week.
Valdez entered a not guilty plea on the new charges. A trial date for the new charges was set for next March.
The judge also scheduled a sentencing hearing for Valdez in the abuse of his infant son in 2015. Valdez told police that his four-month-old son had fallen unconscious, that he’d splashed water on the child’s face and hit the baby in an effort to wake him up.
Investigators said Valdez had clearly inflicted the injuries on the young boy himself, causing broken ribs and a brain bleed.
Valdez was tried in absentia last year, meaning he decided not to attend his trial. After a jury moved to convict him, a warrant was issued for his arrest but Valdez wasn’t able to be located until last week. He could face up to 16 years in prison for the neglect and battery charges when he was found guilty by a jury.
Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said a quick sentencing date is called for in this case.
"I think it’s important to get justice swiftly in cases where there’s been a victim,” Mull said. "Even if that victim is a child, people need to understand that when they do these things, when they hurt children, there are going to be swift and severe consequences for that.
Despite the charges, Mull said he’s going to ask that Valdez be moved from the Clark County Jail to prison after he’s been sentenced for the neglect and battery charges. Valdez will be back in court November 19 to be sentenced.