25 year-old Marc Allen Palmer has been charged with deliberate homicide after allegedly smothering a five month-old infant, Brayden Beal, on March 30. He is in the Missoula County Jail on $500,000 bond.

According to court documents, law enforcement personnel responded to a residence in the 1800 block of Sherwood for an infant that was not breathing. Present at the residence was Marc Palmer who was holding the unresponsive infant under the armpits, along with the child's mother, Ginny Peck and the defendant's mother, Mary Palmer.

Officers noted suspicious bruising around the child's mouth and a tear inside his mouth between his teeth and upper lip. Brayden was transported to St. Patrick Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Marc Palmer claimed that he slept through the night, and when he awoke, Brayden was not breathing, and that bloody baby wipes in the trash were from the defendant's bloody nose. The Montana State Crime Lab confirmed the bruising on Brayden's mouth and lips, as well as bruising on the back of his head. The medical examiner determined that the child died of asphyxia due to smothering.

Chief Deputy County Attorney Jason Marks said Palmer was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with deliberate homicide.

"Marc Palmer has been charged with deliberate homicide related to the death of his girlfriend's infant son," Marks said. "This investigation has been going on since March 30th when the incident occurred. We have been waiting on some information from the State Crime Lab, and once we received those, we filed the charges against Mr. Palmer."

Marks said Palmer is accused of deliberately smothering the baby.

"Mr. Palmer is charged with essentially smothering the baby in the very early morning hours of March 30th," he said. "The child's mother recalled waking up to the baby fussing and seeing Palmer standing over the car seat in which the baby was sleeping, and then the child was found dead the next morning. Everyone involved was interviewed and evidence was collected and sent to the crime lab. Palmer has been at liberty since the initial interview by law enforcement."

Palmer will appear in Missoula Justice Court on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 to hear the charges and to have bail set in his case.

Marks said the maximum penalty for deliberate homicide is a possible life sentence in the Montana State Prison.