Dustin Edward Griffin, 22, pleaded no contest on Nov. 12 to sexually assaulting his toddler son and then shooting him in the face with a pellet gun in April.
Though a no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, it’s treated as such during sentencing, which is scheduled for Dec. 9, MLive reported. In accordance with his plea deal, Griffin could be subject to a minimum of 25 years in prison, although prosecutors are reportedly seeking more time.
When Griffin’s son was admitted to the hospital for the shooting, a nurse discovered evidence that suggested the boy had been sexually assaulted. According to MLive, Griffin told investigators he was feeding his dog, when the dog knocked over his gun, possibly causing it to discharge. However, he later recanted the story and allegedly admitted to sexually abusing his son and firing the pellet gun, which he thought was empty.
“I need to go back to therapy, I don't need jail," court records show Griffin told police, reported MLive. "I don't need to be in my own little cell for eight hours a day. I'm not that kind of person. I'm not a monster.”
Griffin also told police he spent time in juvenile detention when he was 16 after sexually assaulting a 12-year-old member of his family, MLive reported.
Still, some were surprised when he was arrested. "I was very surprised,” a family friend told ABC12. "I didn't expect that from him at all. He showed no signs. I was a very good friend of his and there was no evidence that showed he was doing that to his own kid."