Murder charges have been filed against an Apple Valley father accused of killing his 13-day-old son.
Michael Anthony Herkal, 32, was originally charged Aug. 14 with first-degree assault and malicious punishment of a child. His son, Anthony Herkal, was on life support at the time, but died later the same day.
On Thursday, Dakota County prosecutors charged the father with three counts of second-degree murder (without intent while committing a felony) in connection with the Aug. 12 incident. Herkal appeared back in court on the amended charges; he remained jailed Thursday in lieu of $1 million bail, or $750,000 with conditions.
Herkal first told police his 2-year-old son had pulled the younger child off a couch, according to the criminal complaint. Herkal then said he had squeezed the squirming infant while changing his diaper and that the baby slipped out of his hands and onto a coffee table.
The boy suffered a fractured skull and had blood on his brain and could not breathe on his own.
A review of Herkal’s cellphone showed he had made several Google searches before calling 911 to report the baby was limp and not breathing.
They included “someone threw a baby on the floor,” “baby breathing hard” and “noisy baby breathing: what’s normal and what’s not.”
Herkal was convicted of domestic abuse against the mother of his two sons in 2016 and was sentenced to nine days in jail and two years’ probation. He violated protection orders four times by contacting her and in total spent less than four months in jail.
Herkal is due back in court Oct. 5.