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Father, stepmom plead not guilty in 9-year-old boy's death

| May 17, 2021 3:30 PM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho couple has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges in connection with the death of a young child.

Erik and Monique Osuna of Meridian each denied the charges during a Monday morning hearing, Boise television station KTVB reported. Prosecutors say the couple starved and abused 9-year-old Emrik Osuna — Monique's stepson and Erik's son — until he died on Sept. 1, 2020.

The couple was arrested last year after Emrik was found emaciated and not breathing on the floor of their apartment. The child was rushed to a nearby hospital but did not survive.

Detectives said so-called “nanny cameras” inside the apartment showed the boy being screamed at, subjected to extreme violence, and being forced to perform exercises like jumping jacks and wall-sits for more than 12 hours at a time.

Prosecutors said Monique Osuna was more involved in the physical violence, and that Erik Osuna failed to intervene and tried to hide the cameras before investigators arrived at the apartment.

A trial in the case is scheduled for Sept. 21.