A 25-year-old Kentucky man pleaded guilty on Sept. 20 to beating his girlfriend's infant son to death.
Cody Jene Phelps faced two counts of first-degree criminal abuse and one count of first-degree manslaughter for the death of 7-week-old Aiden Wainscott, reports Cincinnati.com.
The court will officially sentence Phelps on Oct. 18. He could face up to 20 years in prison.
Phelps was arrested in November 2015, after emergency responders found his girlfriend's baby in a crib, completely unresponsive. Phelps, who was not the father, was caring for Aiden at the time.
The suspect was in hysterics when police arrived, officers said. Phelps told them that he went to change the boy's diaper when he noticed that his chest was not moving.
Aiden was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, and officers took Phelps into custody when they learned that the baby had a number of broken bones and major head injuries that went beyond what could have happened during one tragic accident.
"They did an autopsy on the child and determined that he had skull fractures and that's what caused his death, and that a simple fall to the floor could not cause that much injury," Major Tom Scheben of the Boone County Sheriff's Office said in November 2015, according to WCPO.
At the time, Phelps' grandmother, Sharon, said that he wanted "to raise that baby as his own" and never would have set out to harm the boy.
"He's a big teddy bear," Sharon added. "He loved kids. He wanted to be the father to that child. ... He went and worked and bought that baby clothes along with her. He wanted to go to work to give that baby a big Christmas and get his car fixed and do for that baby."
She went on to say that all he wanted "was to be a dad."
"Cody is not mentally right," she added. "I'm telling you this because I love Cody. He loves kids. We've got babies that he has been around and played with for years and this child … He loved this child."
But that's not always enough, said Scheben, who, giving Phelps the benefit of the doubt, cautioned all guardians to be more careful of accidentally harming them.
"You have to treat babies like they're babies," he said. "They will break. They're soft and their bones are not formed and they can die from these injuries."