By Steve Barnes
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Reuters) - An Arkansas judge whose infant son died last year when left strapped in a car safety seat for five hours in the summer heat was charged on Thursday with misdemeanor negligent homicide.
The judge, Wade Naramore of Hot Springs, Arkansas, summoned police to his home on July 24, 2015, when he said he discovered the 2-year-old child unresponsive, still secured in the car’s back seat.
Naramore, 36, surrendered to Hot Springs authorities Thursday morning and was released on $5,000 bond, officials said.
An affidavit filed with the arrest warrant quoted Naramore as telling officers he was preoccupied with a pending case at a time when he intended to leave his son at a day care center. It said Naramore instead reported to his office, then left to perform several errands before returning to his home and finding the youngster.
A state forensic report said the son, Thomas Naramore, died of excessive heat. The affidavit filed Thursday said temperatures that day were in the upper 90s with a heat index as high as 106 degrees. The child’s “core temperature,” according to the document, was found to be 107 degrees.
“I killed my baby!” Naramore repeatedly told first responders, the affidavit said.
The charges were brought by special prosecutor Scott Ellington of Jonesboro, Arkansas, who was appointed after the local district attorney recused himself. Naramore formerly worked in the Hot Springs prosecutor’s office.
Naramore voluntarily ceased hearing cases following his son’s death but did not resign. A complaint against Naramore is pending with the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, which has said it would take no action pending resolution of any criminal charges.
In a statement issued last fall, Naramore and his wife, Ashley, said their son’s death “has taken an unimaginable toll on our family, friends, and all those who knew the pure joy of our sweet baby boy. We have learned that we are far from alone in our struggle, as diligent and loving parents from all walks of life have suffered this catastrophic loss under similar horrifying circumstances.”
(Reporting by Steve Barnes, Editing by Ben Klayman and Dan Grebler)