Mountain Home airman charged with stepson's murder

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by Scott Evans

NWCN.com

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 10:43 PM

MOUNTAIN HOME -- A Mountain Home airman has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old stepson. This is not the first time he’s accused of hurting the boy.

Prosecutors in Elmore County filed the murder charge today against 20-year-old Richard Laubach.

Mountain Home Police got a call Tuesday afternoon that a young boy was injured and unresponsive. Laubach and Joseph Graham were alone in the apartment at the time the alleged abuse occurred.

Laubach was arrested Tuesday night after his stepson was brought to a Boise hospital for care. The toddler died from his injuries the next morning.

Ada County Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg performed an autopsy today on Joseph Graham and says the boy died from abusive head injury. He labeled his death as a homicide.

Police said they first thought the boy was injured in a fall, but there appeared to be more to it.

Laubach was originally charged with felony injury to a child, but that changed after Joseph’s death.

This is not the first time Laubach has been in trouble with the law.

Court documents from 2012 show Laubach has a history of abuse. He was charged with injury to a child and battery, accused of beating his wife and stepson.

In December those charges were dismissed after Laubach took an anger management course, a parenting course, safety seminar, a parenting support program and participated in two martial counseling sessions.

Elmore County Prosecuting Attorney Kristina Schindele, says she can’t say much because the 2012 charge wasn't her case, but does say at the time that decision was made it appeared to be the right one. Now she says that doesn't hold true.

"It is the worst nightmare for a prosecutor to make a decision in one case and then have that decision have such traumatic and very tragic consequences," said Schindele.

Even though Laubach is charged with murder while police are still investigating if there is more evidence of abuse.

"I'm not really aware of all of the history, that's what we're obtaining. Obviously we're trying to inquire as to the relationship between Laubach and his wife, Laubach and J.G., that's part of our investigation," said Schindele.

In court Thursday, Laubach said he is employed by the Air Force. Lt. Bryant Davis with the Mountain Home Air Force Base confirmed those details, but said he couldn't comment further.

Laubach is currently being held without bond. He'll be in court again Friday. The judge is expected to set the date for his preliminary hearing.

Joseph’s family has set up a memorial account at U.S. Bank. The account is called "JoJo’s Memorial Fund."

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