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A father who weighed more than 19 stone (270lbs) is accused of killing his six-year-old son by using his own bodyweight to suffocate the child because he kept making noise whilst he played video games, say sheriff's deputies. James "Rick" Dearman, 31, of Sarasota, Florida, was arrested Christmas Eve following the incident and is charged with aggravated manslaughter.
The horrendous event unfolded in front of the eyes of the boy's seven-year-old brother who told the sheriff's office in an arrest affidavit "When dad squished him, he got dead." Dearman is now being held in Sarasota County Jail whilst further investigations take place.
Police responded to an incident at the home address of Dearman in the Englewood area of Sarasota at roughly 10.10pm local time. After performing CPR in the living room and transporting the boy to Englewood Hospital, the six-year-old was pronounced dead later that evening.
The incident happened at the home Dearman shared with his live-in girlfriend, Ashley Cole. She told detectives the couple had sent the two children to go to bed at 7.30pm, but Dearman became annoyed when the children would not go to sleep and kept "running around the bedroom", according to WFLA.
Detectives say that Cole said Dearman told the children to face the wall as punishment. But when he saw his six-year-old son was watching him play video games, he ordered the child to lay on the sofa and face the rear cushions.
Sarasota County Police allege that Dearman pinned the child to the sofa and smothered his face with cushions, ignoring the pleas from the child saying he could not breathe, as he continued to play on his computer console. The police said after five minutes Dearman and Cole went to smoke a cigarette, leaving the boy motionless. On return to the room Cole saw that the boy's lips were blue and he was not breathing.
According to an arrest affidavit, Cole ran to the garage to pray, as Dearman called 911 and attempted to perform CPR. Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Captain John Walsh said: "There's not a detective or anybody who isn't pretty upset about this and finds it egregious and malicious."
Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Captain John Walsh said: "There's not a detective or anybody who isn't pretty upset about this and finds it egregious and malicious."