Columbus man accused of killing son pleads not guilty in court

Updated: Feb. 16, 2017 at 2:05 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus man accused of murdering his son made his first court appearance Thursday, Feb. 16.

Nathaniel Ghant III remains behind bars in the Muscogee County Jail after pleading not guilty to the murder of his 4-year-old son Nathaniel Ghant IV.

Ghant faces is charged with murder in the second degree in his son's death last September when police were called out to a home in the 3000 block of North Lumpkin Road.

According to the Muscogee Coroner's Office, the boy died from delayed complications to traumatic brain injury and injuries he sustained at 28 days old.

Those injuries occurred in 2012, and Ghant was charged with cruelty to children.  On Tuesday night he turned himself in to police, claiming his son's death was an accident.

"In a case like this, those medical records are pretty critical because in the State of Georgia you do have an absolute defense of accident," said Ghant's attorney Stacey Jackson. "So the State has the burden to prove that this was not an accident that it was done with some type of malicious intent or whatever caused the child's death. So that would be an obviously when we get to a trial stage that would be a determination the jury would have to make."

Jackson said the boy's mother supports Ghant and claims her son's death was an accident.

Ghant's case was bound over to Superior Court.

Jackson says it's up to the District Attorney's office to decide if they will merge the first-degree cruelty charge and the second degree murder charge together with a new indictment.

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