A man who works at the Patuxent Naval Air Station here in Maryland is facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter that could send him to prison for up to eight years for the death of his young son. The 17-month-old boy died on Sept. 3 after being left for hours in the man's car. This is just the latest incident in which a young child perished in the heat after being left by a parent.
According to the criminal complaint against the father, the child was in the vehicle, where the temperature reached 85 degrees, for some seven hours. He told an agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service that he took his four-year-old son to preschool and then was supposed to take his younger son to the naval base's day care facility. However, instead he went straight to his office shortly before 9 a.m.
That afternoon, according to prosecutors, the defendant drove his car to and from a meeting. According to a Sept. 4 CBS News report, the complaint says that the 40-year-old Leonardtown man rolled down his windows and turned on the air conditioning because the vehicle was so hot, but did not notice his son. He returned to the base and his office with the baby still in the vehicle.
At about 3:20 p.m., according to the complaint, the man's wife phoned him to ask if he had the car seat with him. He said that's when he realized that he may have forgotten to drop off his son at the daycare facility. That's when he went out and found the boy in the vehicle.
Efforts by emergency workers to revive the child were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at 4:15 p.m.
Not all crimes are committed with malice. Some are horrible accidents for which the worst punishment for defendants may be having to live with what they did for the rest of their lives. Nonetheless, they also face serious criminal charges. Sometimes the circumstances, if fully explained and contextualized by an experienced criminal defense attorney, can help persuade a jury and/or judge to have sympathy for the defendant and refrain from giving him or her the harshest possible punishment.
Source: USA Today, "Dad charged in boy's death in vehicle at Md. naval base" Sep. 04, 2014