CARTER KRISTOPHER_1000157490_217845

Kristopher Carter

The sentencing of a Baton Rouge man in the 2016 "play fighting" death of his 4-year-old son has been pushed back to February.

Kristopher Darius Carter, 27, pleaded no contest in August to negligent homicide of a victim under the age of 10.

Carter was scheduled to be sentenced Monday, but a presentence investigation report ordered by state District Judge Trudy White was only recently completed. So the judge set a new sentencing date of Feb. 7.

Carter faces a prison term of two to five years, but a suspended sentence followed by probation is allowed under the law.

Baton Rouge police said Carter was seen "play fighting" with his son, Marcel Tennie, prior to the 4-year-old's death on Nov. 30, 2016. A witness told police Carter was punching Marcel with a closed fist the afternoon before he died and urging the boy to punch him back, an arrest reports states.

Marcel's mother, who does not live with Carter, told police she repeatedly told Carter not to "play fight" with their son because he at times hit the child too hard, the police report says.

But Carter told police Marcel was acting strange when he picked him up from school the afternoon of Nov. 29, 2016, according to the report. When they arrived at his Wales Street residence, his son defecated and vomited on himself, then refused food and slept the rest of the day, Carter told police.

The boy's condition worsened throughout the night to the point that he became unresponsive and appeared to stop breathing, Carter told police, so he attempted CPR unsuccessfully before taking him to the hospital.

Carter told police he did not seek medical treatment earlier because his son didn't want to go to the hospital. He was declared dead soon after their arrival at the hospital early on Nov. 30, 2016.

The boy's autopsy showed he died from blunt-force trauma to the abdomen, where doctors found a lacerated small bowel. Hospital staff also discovered bruising on and around his abdomen.

Carter also was arrested in July 2017 and accused in the beating of Marcel's mother, but second-degree battery and other charges were dismissed the same day he pleaded no contest to negligent homicide.

A no contest plea carries the same weight as a guilty plea in criminal court but cannot be used against a defendant in civil court.

Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.