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Two men charged in deaths of children

In two separate incidents, Morris-area men have been charged this week in the deaths of two infant boys.

Juan Carlos Herrera-Serrano, 25, appeared in Stevens County District Court on Wednesday and is being held in the Kandiyohi County jail in Willmar on $250,000 bail.

Herrera-Serrano is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of his 2-year-old stepson, David Rutherford.

On Thursday, Jurez LaMar Slaughter, 24, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his son, Paul Marcus Slaughter, also known as Paul Marcus Cohen. The baby was five months old at the time of his June 9 death.

Stevens County Attorney Charles Glasrud said Jurez LaMar Slaughter is in custody on a $150,000 unconditional bond or a $25,000 conditional bond.

In the Rutherford case, Herrera-Serrano told authorities his stepson was injured in a fall Sept. 7, but the criminal complaint against him stated that he gave three different versions of how the boy fell.

Herrera-Serrano allegedly told law enforcement that the boy fell from steps inside. But Herrera-Serrano also stated that the boy fell from the outside deck steps, and from the second floor steps, according to the court complaint.

Law enforcement was called at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 7, reporting that a child was unconscious and not breathing at Herrera-Serrano's residence.

Law enforcement found the boy on a bench on a deck outside the house. The boy did not respond and appeared to be gasping for air. He died shortly after arriving at Stevens Community Medical Center in Morris, according to the complaint.

The Ramsey County medical examiner stated the injuries weren't consistent with a fall and ruled the death a homicide.

The case is being investigated by the Morris Police Department, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Stevens County Attorney's Office and the Minnesota Attorney General's Office.

In the Slaughter case, an autopsy by the Hennepin County Medical Examiners Office indicated that Cohen had signs of head trauma that were not consistent with a self-inflicted injury, according to Morris Police.

The Minnesota BCA is involved with Morris Police and the Minnesota Attorney General's Office in the investigation of this case.