Prosecutors in South Dakota said a grand jury has indicted a Sioux Falls man on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in the death of 2-year-old Tyrese Robert Ruffin -- the son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, is accused of assaulting the boy at a Sioux Falls apartment.
The lack of a first-degree murder charge indicates a grand jury did not find evidence the killing was premeditated; however, if convicted, a second-degree murder charge carries a mandatory life sentence in South Dakota.
Lincoln County prosecutor Tom Wollman said Patterson will be scheduled for an arraignment this week.
Police say Patterson was alone with the boy in the mother's Sioux Falls apartment when he called 911 to report the boy was choking; however, detectives say it quickly became apparent that the toddler had been abused.
The 2-year-old's official cause of death was listed as an abusive head injury.
Peterson learned the boy was his son about two months ago. He rushed to Sioux Falls after learning of his son's injuries, and said he missed practice last week to attend the boy's funeral.
"I was planning on seeing him and I had talked to his mom and we got some things together as far as financially helping her," Peterson said. "Unfortunately, this situation took place and it's devastating."
Patterson, who has previous convictions of assaulting a previous girlfriend and her toddler son, remains in jail on the initial charges of battery and aggravated assault.
WJBK-TV | Fox 2
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