Judge Susan Larson issued a directed verdict Thursday morning in the trial of an El Paso police officer accused in the death of his infant son.
Raymond Licon Jr. was acquitted on two of the three charges: abandoning and endangering child and criminal negligent homicide.
Licon Jr. will only face a single charge of reckless injury to a child.
Licon Jr. is accused of contributing to the death of his 11-month old son Azreal Licon, who drowned in a bathtub in June 2017.
Raymond Licon admits he’s at fault for the infant’s death, but said it was due to him being distracted during an argument with his estranged wife Crystal.
As KTSM reported, the defendant said he returned home from his grandparent’s home that Tuesday evening after picking up the baby and his older daughter. Licon told the jury he was preparing the boy’s bath when he was on the phone with his estranged wife, Crystal.
Licon said he began arguing with his wife over the children’s visitation schedule when he heard a loud bang from inside the apartment.
“As I’m putting (Azrael) in, I hear a large crash downstairs,” Licon said. “I could tell it was the baby gate.”
The defendant said his daughter had knocked down the gate. He said he remained downstairs and continued to argue with his wife on the phone as the bathtub filled up and the baby became submerged.
The prosecution asked Licon, “Why did you not tell Crystal, ‘I have to call you back. I have Azrael in the bathtub and I don’t want him to die?'”
“I don’t know,” Licon replied. “Ive asked myself that a hundred times.”
Licon said he called 911 and tried to perform CPR on his son several times.
“I’m thinking, ‘I gotta hold it together,'” Licon said through tears. “But he’s my little boy. No training, no nothing [sic] can prepare you for that.”
The state maintains Licon was on the phone with his wife for roughly 45 minutes as his baby drowned. The defense denies that, saying Licon was distracted for 8-10 minutes.
“I’d switch places with him in a heartbeat. He was a gorgeous little boy,” Licon told the jury, crying. “He was meant to be better than I am. He was the best parts of me and the best parts of my wife.”
Closing arguments are set to begin around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the El Paso County Courthouse.
Follow KTSM on air and online for the latest developments.