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Former Fort Bliss soldier sentenced to life in prison in baby’s death caused by wrestling

A former Fort Bliss soldier who fatally injured a 1-year-old baby by on him was sentenced to life in prison, court records show.

27, was sentenced Wednesday, April 3, to life in prison after a jury convicted him of capital murder of a person under 10 years of age in connection with the April 2021 death of Ahren Joshua DeHart, court records show.

Marvin Rex Lake was arrested Monday, April 19, 2021, on a capital murder charge in connection with the death of a 13-month-old boy.

Lake was arrested April 19, 2021, on suspicion of capital murder. He remained jailed since his arrest as he waited for his case to go to trial, jail records show.

Lake was previously stationed at Fort Bliss. He was discharged from the U.S. Army in 2020, Fort Bliss officials said.

Lake wrestled, carried boy like a football

Ahren’s parents left their son with Lake at his apartment in the 500 block of Rubin Drive in West El Paso on April 12, 2021, after their babysitter called in sick, a complaint affidavit states. Lake was also taking care of two other children that night.

The Dehart family told the El Paso Times in 2021 that Lake was a . Lake served in the U.S. Army with Ahren’s father, Brandon DeHart, and Lake’s girlfriend was a coworker of Ahren’s mother, Araya DeHart, at the Hospitals of Providence Memorial Campus, the family said.

Lake video-called a witness and the boy’s mother about 5 p.m. and showed the baby was in good health, but crying and fussy, the affidavit states.

He later contacted a witness through another video call about 10:50 p.m. and told her the baby was vomiting a red substance, the affidavit states. Lake said he didn’t know if the baby was throwing up food or blood.

Lake allegedly said the baby was “rag-dolled,” which means crumpled and limp. The mother and witness left work to go to Lake’s apartment, where they found the baby unresponsive and not breathing properly. They called 911 and Ahren was taken to El Paso Children’s Hospital.

The family was told by doctors that Ahren had brain damage, a skull fracture, lung hemorrhaging, abdominal injuries and bruising on his butt, legs and chin, the affidavit states.

Ahren was placed on life support. He died April 16, 2021 after the family had no other options but to take him off life support, the family said.

El Paso Police Department investigators questioned Lake April 12, 2021 at police headquarters. He initially said he had no idea how the baby sustained the injuries, the affidavit states. Investigators alleged Lake continuously changed his story throughout the interview.

Lake later told investigators the baby’s injuries were sustained by several wrestling moves he had done to the boy. At one point while wrestling, Lake said the baby slipped from his hands and struck the frame of a futon, the affidavit states.

When questioned about the other injuries, Lake allegedly admitted he grabbed the baby in a tight football hold after becoming upset at the baby for ripping a pillow. Lake also said “he had anger issues and did not realize his own strength,” the affidavit states.

Lake called a witness on speakerphone during a break from his interview with police. He told the person on the phone that he had not cause Ahren’s head injuries, but was responsible for the internal injuries, the affidavit states.

Lake was released by police as they waited for an update on the baby’s condition. Police then executed a search warrant at Lake’s apartment.

Lake went to police headquarters in Central El Paso April 15, 2021 seeking a reimbursement for damages to his futon, the affidavit states.

Police told Lake the futon was photographed and the frame was exposed based upon Lake’s statement that the baby struck the frame during the wrestling moves.

“I did not hurt his head. I only caused the internal injuries,” Lake allegedly told police.

The El Paso County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of the boy’s death as intentional trauma and homicide.