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Murder trial set for Layton man in potty training child abuse death

FILE - Joshua Schoenenberger enters the courtroom for a preliminary hearing in Farmington, Utah on Thursday, January 7, 2016. A trial date has been set for Schoenenberger, who is accused of fatally beating his girlfriend's 2-year-old son out of frustratio
FILE - Joshua Schoenenberger enters the courtroom for a preliminary hearing in Farmington, Utah on Thursday, January 7, 2016. A trial date has been set for Schoenenberger, who is accused of fatally beating his girlfriend's 2-year-old son out of frustration over potty training.
Rick Egan

FARMINGTON — A trial date has been set for a Layton man accused of fatally beating his girlfriend's 2-year-old son out of frustration over potty training.

A six-day jury trial was scheduled Monday for Joshua Schoenenberger, 35, who is charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the toddler's May 2015 death. The trial will begin May 15, 2017.

James "JJ" Sieger Jr. was taken off life support two days after being taken to the hospital on May 9, 2015, his body succumbing to extensive injuries, including tearing in his colon, damage in his abdomen, deep bruising, head trauma and other injuries.

After a series of changing narratives by himself and JJ's mother, Schoenenberger told police he had lashed out at the boy as he struggled with potty training, violently squeezing, dropping and stepping on the toddler, court documents state.

The boy's mother, Jasmine Bridgeman, 24, pleaded guilty to obstructing justice, a second-degree felony, for lying to doctors and police about how her son sustained the injuries that killed him. She was sentenced in April to one to 15 years in prison.

Earlier this month prosecutors opted not to seek the death penalty for Schoenenberger. Under "Shelby's Law," capital punishment is a potential sentence in Utah cases where a child's death results from abuse.