SLIDELL, La. — A Louisiana man is facing a first-degree murder charge in the beating death of his 7-week-old son.

Anthony Dearmas, of the Slidell area, about 32 miles (51 kilometers) northeast of New Orleans, was arrested last week on a cruelty charge, but it was upgraded after Karter Smith died Saturday, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith said in a news release Tuesday.

Smith said sheriff’s deputies answered a report of a baby not breathing May 10. An ambulance crew revived Karter, but doctors diagnosed severe head injuries.

Dearmas made up a story at first, but eventually told detectives he knocked the baby off a couch because he kept crying, and Karter fell on his head, according to the news release.

Dearmas was arrested last Wednesday. Sheriff’s Capt. Daniel Seuzeneau said an autopsy Monday determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head. It was not immediately clear whether Dearmas has an attorney who could comment.

“How someone can do this to a defenseless infant is beyond me. Even more disturbing is the fact this was his own child,” Smith said.

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