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Man to serve 7 years for infant abuse

FARGO - A judge here has sentenced a 20-year-old man to serve seven years in prison for squeezing his 7-week-old son and dropping him on the kitchen floor, resulting in eight broken ribs and a skull fracture.

Charles Murray Rodriguez pleaded guilty this morning in Cass County District Court to a felony count of child abuse for the April incident. A second charge of aggravated assault was dismissed.

East Central Judicial District Court Judge Cynthia Rothe-Seeger sentenced Rodriguez to 10 years in prison, first to serve seven years with the remaining three years suspended for a period of five years of probation.

Rodriguez apologized in court for his actions and said one day he hope's his son's mother will forgive him.

"I'm ashamed of it and I deserve the consequences for my actions," the Fargo man told the judge.

He added that he hopes he can get help to become a better person and a better father.

Shortly after his arrest, Rodriguez said the incident occurred because his son wouldn't stop crying.

"I was just stressed out and angry; I couldn't handle it anymore," Rodriguez told The Forum in a phone interview from the Cass County Jail. "He was just crying, and I couldn't get him to stop crying."