Justin Hornketh Bit His 9-Month-Old Son Because the Boy Bit Him First, Police Say
If a valid excuse exists for biting a 9-month-old kid, "he bit me first" certainly isn't it.
However, police say that's the excuse 23-year-old Chandler resident Justin Hornketh gave his girlfriend after his girlfriend's son was hospitalized with bruising, swelling to his face, and several adult bite marks on his body, according to court documents obtained by New Times.
The boy's mother said she left her son with Hornketh while she was at work, and when she returned, the boy had a red mark on his face. Hornketh explained that the boy "rolled off of the bed and landed on a toy," according to court documents.
The boy's mother took her son to her father's workplace, and they decided to bring the boy to the hospital after they agreed that the mark on his face looked like a hand print.
Hospital staff later discovered the bite marks on the boy's body, according to court documents.
The reporting officer also agreed that the red mark on the boy's face formed an outline of "what appeared to be fingers," and marks on his shoulder and arm appeared to be bite marks, according to a probable-cause statement.
The boy's mother handed over text messages she exchanged with Hornketh -- in the first one, he called her an "idiot" for confronting him with the allegations, but then he sent another text "stating that he had bitten the child after the child had bitten him," court documents state. Another officer took photographs of these messages as evidence.
Police also listened to a phone call between Hornketh and the child's mother, in which Hornketh claimed that he "smacked him once," and also admitted to biting the boy twice because the boy bit him first, according to the documents.
Hornketh, who's listed as unemployed in court records, was booked into jail on three felony counts of child abuse. Court records indicate Hornketh has an arrest history for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.
- Inmates Accuse Arizona of Experimenting with Lethal-Injection Drugs
- 10 Things Arizonans Hate About Snowbirds
- Scottsdale Couple Are Pioneers in Tiny-Home Movement in Arizona