A Florida man played video games while he smothered his 6-year-old son to death against a couch on Christmas Eve, according to police.
James “Rick” Dearman told his two kids, 6 and 7 years old, to go to bed around 7:30 p.m., his girlfriend, Ashley Cole, told cops. The children refused to go to sleep, Cole said, and instead ran around the room, WFLA reports.
The 31-year-old Dearman got up and forced both kids to stand facing the wall, then went back to playing video games with Cole in his Englewood home. When he saw the 6 year old watching the couple play, Dearman forced the boy to lie on his side on the couch with his face against the rear couch cushions, authorities said.
The 270-pound man then sat on top of his son and returned to his game, while the boy screamed that he could not breathe. Five minutes later, the boy was motionless and Dearman and Cole went into the garage to smoke a cigarette, cops said.
Cole returned to find the boy’s lips were blue, so she went into the garage to pray, according to the arrest affidavit. Dearman later called 911 and performed CPR until the paramedics arrived.
A deputy saw bruising on the boy’s back, according to the Bradenton Herald. “There’s not a detective or anybody who isn’t pretty upset about this and finds it egregious and malicious, the treatment of a 6-year-old child,” Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Captain John Walsh told WFLA. The boy was declared dead at Englewood Hospital.
Investigators interviewed the boy’s 7-year-old sibling, who demonstrated to detectives how the boy was crushed into the couch. “When Dad squished him, he got dead,” the sibling said, according to the Bradenton Herald.
The sibling also told police that the boy had urinated on himself when he wasn’t allowed to get up to use the bathroom. Dearman was arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse, which was then upgraded to aggravated manslaughter of a child.
He is being held without bond at the Sarasota County Jail.