HARDIN COUNTY, Iowa — An Iowa Falls man has been found not guilty of charges connected to the death of his son.

Nicholas Cox was charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment after his six-month-old son died in March of 2021. Court documents reveal the child was found unresponsive at home and Cox admitted to investigators that he was too rough with the child after being woken overnight.

The judge found the state did not meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt on either charge – though he did call Cox’s actions toward the child “reprehensible.”

In his ruling, filed last week, the judge said Cox “undoubtedly committed assault and child endangerment.” But because he’d been asked by both parties not to consider any lesser-included offenses, the judge couldn’t make any further ruling.