Man sentenced to prison for manslaughter in death of girlfriend' - KPTV - FOX 12

Man sentenced to prison for manslaughter in death of girlfriend's young son

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Joshua Howard in court (file image) Joshua Howard in court (file image)
Joshua Howard, jail booking photo Joshua Howard, jail booking photo
Coltin Salsbury Coltin Salsbury
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A man guilty of manslaughter for the death of his then-girlfriend's 2-year-old son has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Joshua Howard, 30, was arrested in March 2014.

Police responded to the Unicorn Motel on the 3000 block of Southeast 82nd Avenue on the report of a young child who was unconscious.

Court documents state Howard changed his story about what happened to 2-year-old Coltin Salsbury several times after detectives arrived.

He initially claimed he was giving the boy a shower when he left the child alone and heard a thump. Later, he said he "tossed or dropped" the boy in the bathroom and was upset because he had thrown up on the bed and was crying, according to a probable cause affidavit.

As detectives continued interviewing Howard, court documents state he admitted dragging the boy into the bathroom and throwing him with a lot of force into the front of the toilet.

Court documents state he then put the boy in the bathtub with cold water to try to revive him.

Howard told police he deserved to be charged with murder and deserved the harshest punishment for what he did, according to court documents.

Howard, originally charged with murder and murder by abuse, reached a plea deal in September and pleaded guilty to lesser charges of first-degree manslaughter and criminal mistreatment.

The child's long list of injuries included a skull fracture, left jaw fracture, retinal hemorrhages, brain swelling and bruising to his eyelids, neck, forearm, both thighs and spine.

The boy's mother told police Howard often hit the child, but she didn't stop it for fear it would only make him more violent toward the boy, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Coltin Salbury's family filed a $2.5 million lawsuit in March 2015 against the Department of Human Services alleging child welfare workers were contacted repeatedly for help, but they did not intervene.

Howard was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday.

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