TWIN FALLS • A 20-year-old Twin Falls man pleaded guilty to a voluntary manslaughter charge in the death of a 3-year-old boy.
Lane Alan Buddenhagen was originally charged with first degree murder but the charge was amended in a plea deal Friday.
According to an amended indictment, Buddenhagen “unlawfully but without malice, aforethought and premeditation” killed the child by causing him to sustain a catastrophic brain injury.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 2.
The boy, who was not related to Buddenhagen, died on Aug. 7, 2011. According to court documents, emergency personnel responded to an apartment complex at 512 Jefferson St. the morning of Aug. 6 to find the child lying on the floor of a bedroom.
Buddenhagen allegedly told police the boy had been taking a bath. He said he left the bathroom and heard a loud sound, returning to find the boy on the floor. Buddenhagen said he moved the child to a bedroom and called 911. The boy was later taken to a Boise hospital where he died.
A doctor at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center told police he believed the child was shaken, based on bruises on the child and the results of a CT scan, and called the injuries “severe child abuse.”
In court documents, Buddenhagen stated he was giving the child a bath and pushed the child to get him to sit down when the child hit his head. He also wrote he was pleading guilty on his attorney’s advice because he felt like it was the best option for him and feels responsible for the boy’s death.
According to court documents, prosecutors will ask for a maximum of 10 years fixed time in prison for Buddenhagen.
A mental health evaluation and a criminal risk assessment have been ordered in the case.