Kenneth Herbst

A father accused of killing his young son has pleaded guilty but to a lesser charge than first-degree murder.

Twenty-five-year-old Kenneth Herbst of La Salle entered a guilty plea Wednesday to a Class X felony of aggravated battery to a child. With a sentencing range of 6 to 30 years, all sides agreed to 20 years in prison. Herbst will get two years knocked off that sentence for the time he's already spent in the La Salle County Jail.

He was locked up in April of 2019 after police and prosecutors said he held his two-month-old son's face into a pillow, causing the child to die. After months of negotiations however, prosecutors decided to drop three counts of first-degree murder against Herbst. La Salle County State's Attorney Todd Martin points to conflicting evidence and no prior criminal history as reasons to make the deal. Prosecutors feared Herbst would be found guilty of an even lesser charge of manslaughter if the case went to trial.

He was represented by Public Defender Tim Cappellini.

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