Man acquitted in 18-month-old boy’s wrestling move death

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania jury has acquitted a man in the death of his girlfriend’s toddler, which he said occurred as he was mimicking a professional wrestling move.

The Lycoming County panel deliberated for less than two hours Monday before acquitting 21-year-old Brandon Hoffman of aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter and related counts.

Authorities said Hoffman was performing a wrestling move at his Jersey Shore apartment in May 2015 when he inadvertently slammed 18-month-old Bryson Shoemaker to the floor, causing fatal head injuries. Investigators say Hoffman was performing a move by The Undertaker known as “The Last Ride” and had intended for Bryson to land on a bed.

Hoffman’s lawyer, William Miele, told jurors that “people play with young children and they play physically.”

Assistant District Attorney Martin Wade called Hoffman’s actions reckless.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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