SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – John Austin was facing capital murder charges for a vicious attack on his infant son.

His life was spared when he pleaded guilty, and for the second time since his incarceration, he’s seeking parole.

In 2001, he called 911 to say his 5-month-old son Isaac was hurt. But later, Ogden Police learned the injuries were consistent with a homicide.

An autopsy showed Isaac had 16 broken ribs, a detached retina and was suffocated to death.

Under a new law, Austin became the first defendant to face capital murder in a child’s death.

But in 2002, he pleaded guilty to first degree murder sparing his life. He was sentenced to life in prison with a chance of parole.

Last week, Austin appeared for his second parole hearing, and a 2016 request for release was denied.

His former wife wants him to remain in prison.

“Over the past 21 years, I keep asking how my former husband and father of our child could ever do these horrific things to our infant child,” Heidi Parkin said at the Sept. 6 parole hearing.

Like previous statements in his 2016 parole hearing, Austin didn’t recall hurting his child, and claimed alcohol and fatigue caused him to black out.

“I have a bunch of different images and it happened every day and I woke up from a black out and I wouldn’t know where I was,” Austin told the parole hearing officer.

That Saturday in 2001, Austin was cooking a meal after his wife left for work. He said he was drinking and laid Isaac in his crib.

“I knew I was going to pass out at any moment,” he said. “So, I wanted him to be calm because I was about to go down. The only time I remember inflicting injuries was when I woke up hysterical and found him.”

But his former wife was also at the parole hearing, and opposed his parole.

“I cannot understand how the court system would even give John the possibility of parole,” Parkin said. “He continues to place the blame on anything other than himself.”

She found it hard to believe that her former husband couldn’t remember anything about the actual moment when Isaac was hurt.

“How can you shake your baby so violently that his retina detaches?” she asked. “How do you throw and hit your child with such anger that he has over a dozen broken ribs?”

Isaac’s birthday was September 18th. He would have been 22 years old had he lived.

“All I can wonder is where he would have been in life,” said Parkin.

The entire board of pardons will consider Austin’s latest testimony and make a decision soon.