James “Rick” Dearman is under arrest after police say the 270-year-old man sat on his son and crushed him to death on Christmas Eve after the boy disturbed his dad’s video game playing.
The 31-year-old was accused of killing his son, also named James Dearman, after deputies were called to his Englewood, Florida, home late on Christmas Eve. They found the boy unconscious with bruising on his back. Paramedics tried to perform CPR, but the boy was declared dead at a local hospital, the News-Press reported.
The man’s girlfriend, Ashley Cole, told police that at about 7:30 p.m. that night, she and her boyfriend told their young children to go to sleep so the couple could play video games. The victim and his 7-year-old sibling were sent to sleep in a separate room on some blankets that had been placed on the floor, but the boys were running around the room and would not go to bed.
As a punishment, James Dearman told them to stand facing the wall, his girlfriend told police. But when the 6-year-old boy turned around to watch the couple playing video games, James Dearman grew angry and made the boy lie on the couch sideways, then placed his full 270-pound frame on the boy.
The rest of the details were more disturbing. Cole told police that the boy was screaming that he could not breathe, but James Dearman refused to move. The boy even told his father that he had to use the bathroom and urinated on himself when the man would not let him up, she said.
After about five minutes the boy stopped moving, and Dearman and Cole went to their garage to smoke a cigarette. When they returned, they saw that the boy was not breathing, and called the police. The couple then went to the garage again to pray, Cole said, while Dearman called the police.
Dearman had a long history with police. He had outstanding warrants for charges of animal cruelty, the Press-Record reported. He was also arrested in 2008 for desertion from the U.S. Navy.
— Allyson Henning (@AllysonHenning) December 31, 2015
James “Rick” Dearman arrested for smothering and killing his 6yo son. Bond set at $1 million pic.twitter.com/YAxePRGBvx
— John Rogers (@WFLAJohn) December 31, 2015
Neighbors said the death was shocking and remembered 6-year-old James Dearman as a very friendly boy who was often seen playing outside.
The tragic story is now making nationwide headlines, prompting outrage and drawing comparisons to other recent cases of alleged child abuse. Back in August, two women and one man were arrested in a small North Dakota town and charged with taking part in a horror of drug use and alleged rape. Police said the group of adults had repeatedly sexually assaulted a teen girl who lived there, and the victim told police that the rapes had been going on for three years, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
Police said the home was filled with garbage and dirty diapers, with no food anywhere and a strong stench of urine and cigarette smoke. Two infants were also taken from the home and reportedly tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The infants also tested positive for methamphetamine, which police said was the result of the adults smoking meth in close proximity to the children.
In Florida, James Dearman is now charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child and is being held on $1 million bond. His girlfriend has not yet been arrested or charged with any crime, police added.
[Image via Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office /WTSP]