A rural Randall man has been charged with murder in connection with death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old son last week.
Appearing in Morrison County District Court , Robert Eugene O'Jala, 36, was charged Friday with felony second-degree murder and felony first-degree manslaughter for allegedly picking up and throwing Dylan Martin down in the child's bedroom on March 10 at their rural Randall home.
According to the criminal complaint filed against O'Jala:
Dylan Martin's mother, Samantha Martin, was at work the morning of March 10 while O'Jala was watching Dylan Martin at their home in Darling Township near Randall.
About 10:30 a.m. on March 10 Samantha Martin received a call from O'Jala, indicating that he was "very excited and panicking" and he said something was wrong with Dylan Martin.
Samantha Martin went home and found Dylan Martin lying in the living room on a mattress with O'Jala next to him. Samantha Martin then drove Dylan Martin to the emergency room at Lakewood Health System hospital in Staples. Because he was in serious condition, Dylan Martin was airlifted to the Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.
At the Twin Cities hospital, doctors determined that Dylan Martin had suffered severe blunt force trauma to the head. Doctors eliminated the possibility the trauma was caused accidental fall or impact, stating the injuries to Dylan Martin "would have been from a large amount of physical force and that the impact was very extreme." Doctors said it was most likely that Dylan Martin was picked up by someone and swung down upon his head.
In a statement given to officers, O'Jala initially claimed Dylan Martin was choking on cereal when he went limp and became unconscious. O'Jala stated he ran to a neighbor's for help but no one was home. That's when he called Samantha Martin.
During a second statement to officers, O'Jala was told of the medical evidence from the doctors. He then confessed to becoming frustrated with Dylan Martin and taking him into the child's bedroom, where he lifted Dylan Martin by the arms and threw him down. O'Jala told officers he was unsure if Dylan Martin hit the wall, the frame of the bed or the headboard area of the bed. Officers at that time arrested O'Jala for assaulting Dylan Martin.
Dylan Martin died Wednesday at the Minneapolis hospital. O'Jala is in custody at the Morrison County Jail.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.