Charges against an airman at Luke Air Force Base, who was accused of child abuse and second-degree murder in the death of his infant son, have been dismissed.

However, the case against Staff Sgt. John Centano was dismissed without prejudice May 18, which means prosecutors could re-file charges in the future.

Centano, a maintainer with the 61st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron in Arizona, was arrested May 8 in connection with the June 13, 2017, death of his three-month-old son, who died of head trauma including multiple hemorrhages, according to documents provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Bryan Bouchard, a spokesman for the Superior Court of Maricopa County, said in an email Friday that County Attorney Bill Montgomery filed a motion to dismiss the case on May 17. In a hearing one day later, Superior Court Commissioner Julie LaFave dismissed the case without prejudice.

Bouchard said Centano’s counsel objected, and asked the case be dismissed with prejudice ― meaning it could not be re-filed ― but was denied. Bouchard said Centano’s representative could try again to have the case dismissed with prejudice later on.

The county attorney’s office has not yet responded to an inquiry into why the prosecutor sought to have the case dismissed.

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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