(Reuters) - A South Dakota grand jury has indicted a Sioux Falls man on murder and manslaughter charges in the death of the 2-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, a county prosecutor said on Monday.
Joseph R. Patterson, 27, was indicted Friday on second-degree murder and two possible first-degree manslaughter charges in the death of Peterson’s son, Tom Wollman, the state’s attorney for Lincoln County, South Dakota, said in a statement.
Patterson would face a mandatory life sentence if convicted on the second-degree murder charge in the death of Tyrese Ruffin and a possible life sentence if convicted on first-degree manslaughter, according to prosecutors.
Police said they were called to a Sioux Falls apartment on October 9 because a child was unresponsive. They said at the time that Patterson had been watching his girlfriend’s son, and they believed the child’s injuries were consistent with abuse.
Ruffin died two days later, police said.
Patterson also faces charges of aggravated battery of an infant and abuse or cruelty to a minor, according to the indictment returned by a Lincoln County grand jury.
Peterson, the reigning National Football League most valuable player, told reporters he had learned about the child only two months ago and had been preparing to provide financial assistance to his son and the child’s mother.
Peterson met the boy for the first time at a Sioux Falls hospital before his death and attended his funeral last week.
Prosecutors had charged Patterson initially with aggravated battery and aggravated assault in what police described as a severe child abuse case. Patterson, who has been held in a county jail on a $750,000 bond, remained in custody on Monday.
Wollman said Patterson would be arraigned on the new charges in the near future. No new court date had been set by midday on Monday.
Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Greg McCune and Leslie Adler