Aaron Freeman is going to trial after he rejected the latest settlement offer in his murder case. He is charged with the murder of his 3 year-old daughter.
Freeman, 26, was ready to sign a previous settlement back in December, but Judge Matthew Newman rejected it, calling it a “pretty sweet deal” and ultimately saying it wasn’t a deal he was comfortable with. The offer was a plea to second-degree murder, rather than first-degree, and included an admission to child abuse.
The La Paz County Attorney’s Office presented an amended offer Tuesday in front of the new judge assigned to the case, Judge Lee Jantzen, not as generous as the last one but still involving an admission to second-degree murder and child abuse.
Now, Freeman faces natural life in prison if convicted by a jury. His attorney, Michael Frame, told the judge that Freeman does not want to accept the deal.
“My client is desirous of a trial, judge,” Frame told the court.
The judge then made Freeman aware of the gamble he was making by not taking the deal. One likely outcome of conviction at trial, Jantzen told Freeman, was that he would spend the rest of his natural life in prison, rather than the time-limited sentence associated with the deal. Freeman said he understood but wants a trial anyway.
According to prosecutors, Freeman committed several acts of child abuse occurring across June 10th, 2017, one of which – allegedly at a tire shop in Ehrenberg, AZ – resulted in a perforated stomach, and the child’s eventual death in hospital.
He decided to keep Frame as his attorney in late January after telling the court he was unhappy on January 3rd.
The mother of Freeman’s child, Ashly Parrish, was on the phone for Tuesday’s hearing, as she had been on previous court dates. Parrish is suing San Bernardino County Child and Family Services for the role they may have played in granting Freeman custody, despite his history of violence. She alleges that two social workers with the county created false reports about Parrish that led to the decision.