A former Smithfield man pleaded guilty this week in a Utah County courtroom to inflicting severe injuries upon a 3-year-old child, and then — in a panic — shooting the child’s mother as she slept after realizing the child had died of his injuries.

Christopher Richard Poulson, 30, pleaded guilty to murder, a first-degree felony. He also pleaded guilty to manslaughter, a second-degree felony. Those crimes are punishable by 15 years to life, and 1 to 15 years to life in the Utah State Prison, respectively, and according to court records, Poulson agreed to consecutive sentencing.

However, that could all change if authorities are able to recover the body of the mother and child before sentencing.

Poulson was arrested in Hawaii in 2017 and charged with two counts of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony, and two counts of desecration of a body, third-degree felony offenses.

Court records indicate that in 2015, Poulson had been dating Emily Almiron, 23, for more than a year and had been living with her and her 3-year-old son for about six months.

When she disappeared in September 2015, Poulson reportedly told police they broke up after he confronted her about her use of methamphetamines. He said he didn’t see her again until Sept. 11, when she returned to their apartment to gather some of her things.

He also told police they broke up over her continued use of drugs, which he reportedly did not want around him.

However, court records say, when he entered his guilty plea in the 4th District Court on Tuesday he admitted to being left in the care of Emily’s son while he had been “abusing methamphetamine and alcohol for several days.”

Poulson has reportedly cooperated with authorities and provided information that may lead to the recovery of their remains.

If that happens, Poulson will be given the opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea and plead guilty instead to “30 second-degree felony counts.”

The court record does not say what those counts might be.

Sentencing is currently scheduled for Sept. 26 in American Fork.

amacavinta@hjnews.com Twitter: amacavinta

Amy Macavinta is the crime reporter for The Herald Journal. She can be reached at amacavinta@hjnews.com.