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Butte man accused of striking 1-month-old daughter in the face multiple times

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Posted at 5:04 PM, Jun 20, 2024

BUTTE — A Butte man is facing a charge of assault on a minor after allegedly striking his one-month-old daughter in the face in May.

Justin Wayne Fortner appeared in District Court on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 where he pleaded not guilty.

Charging documents say Fortner’s wife texted him around 1 a.m. on May 31, asking him to watch their daughter when he got home from work while she took a bath.

Fortner reportedly got home around 1:30 a.m. and his wife put their daughter to bed before starting her bath. She told Butte Police that from the bathroom she heard her baby start to cry in a way she hadn’t heard before.

According to charging documents, Fortner brought her the baby and she saw injuries to the baby’s face. The reporting officer said the baby had swelling and bruising on the left side of her face and a bloody nose.

Fortner’s wife took the baby to the emergency room where she was contacted by law enforcement. She reportedly told officers that Fortner had a history of punching walls, slamming doors, and throwing things in the house when upset. She also detailed two incidents where Fortner allegedly punched their dog in the head.

Officers took Fortner into custody at his apartment without incident and transported him to the Butte-Silver Bow Detention Center. He was read his Miranda rights and reportedly agreed to keep speaking with detectives.

Fortner allegedly admitted that he hit his daughter multiple times when he was unable to stop her crying.

Fortner faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine for assault on a minor under 36 months.