James Dearman, a 31-year-old Florida resident has pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter for his involvement in the death of his 6-year-old son, Jimmy, ABC News reports. Dearman pleaded guilty to his crime during a plea hearing on Thursday. The case dates back to December 2015, when Jimmy was "squished" to death by James and his 22-year-old girlfriend Ashley Cole, both of whom allegedly pinned Jimmy to a couch as a form of punishment.
According to investigating officers, on the day of the incident, Dearman and Ashley were playing video games in the living room of their home when Jimmy and his sister started making noises in their bedroom. Irritated, James told both the children to stand with their noses against the wall as a form of punishment. However, the boy did not listen to him, which reportedly made James angrier.
Just in-James Dearman pleads guilty to agg. manslaughter of 6yr old son. Sentencing hearing July 28. Details on ABC7 pic.twitter.com/JC9vLvsc39
— Rebecca Vargas (@RebeccaVargas) June 30, 2016
James "Rick" Dearman arrested for smothering and killing his 6yo son. Bond set at $1 million pic.twitter.com/YAxePRGBvxIn a fit of range, Dearman told Ashley to bring the young boy to the couch and and asked Jimmy to sit on it with his face facing the rear cushions. Not done yet, they sat on the child's back while Dearman sat on his shoulder. Authorities add that the child cried and requested the couple to get off him, first because he wanted to use the bathroom and the next time saying he wasn't able to breath. The couple were, however, in no mood to listen. The punishment continued for over 5 minutes, after which the couple noticed that the child was not moving. However, the duo did not check on the child and instead went to the garage for a smoke, returning 10 minutes later. Seeing Jimmy unresponsive, the duo panicked and called 911 and the police. Several reports also said that Dearman made several unsuccessful attempts to revive the unresponsive boy. Jimmy's 7-year-old sister was also a witness to the incident. The girl is now in protective custody. In an affidavit filed in the court, the girl child reportedly told investigating officers what she saw.
— John Rogers (@WFLAJohn) December 31, 2015
"When dad squished him, he got dead."Emergency services were called in to transport the child to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A medical examiner's report later confirmed the cause of death to be a case of "homicide by asphyxiation." According to Assistant State Attorney Art Jackman, the couple had, on previous occasions, used this form of punishment on both the children. The method is known as "squishing," Jackman added. According to authorities, at the time of the incident, James Dearman weighed a hefty 270 pounds, while Cole weighed around 170. 6-year-old Jimmy on the other hand, only weighed 45 pounds.
Video-Gamer Girlfriend Charged In Boy's Death - James Dearman (L) and Ashley Cole https://t.co/HVos7n9V5QDearman, if convicted, will get a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison along with a 10 year probation period as part of his plea deal. He will also testify against his girlfriend Ashley Cole as part of the deal. According to Peter Aiken, Dearman's attorney, he is trying to get Dearman a lesser sentence with the minimum sentence being 13 years. The plea deal was accepted by Circuit Judge Thomas Krug, who added that the next hearing for the case will be on July 28.
— sule ibrahim (@infomahacker) January 6, 2016
Earlier, Ashley Cole also pleaded guilty. She was accused of "not intervening" after seeing that the child was in obvious discomfort when he was pinned to the couch. She may face up to 30 years in prison, if convicted.
[Images Via Sarasota County Sheriff's Office]