SARASOTA -- A man was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child after deputies found his 6-year-old son dead on Christmas Eve, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies responded to the home of James "Rick" Dearman, 31, in Englewood at 10:10 p.m. Dec. 24 and saw paramedics performing CPR on the boy, according to the arrest report. A deputy observed bruising on the boy's back, and he was later pronounced dead at Englewood Hospital.
Deputies interviewed Dearman's live-in girlfriend, who said she was playing video games with Dearman at 7:30 p.m. when he told the boy and his 7-year-old sibling to go to bed, which is on the floor with blankets in a bedroom. The two children would not go to sleep and kept running around the room, the woman said.
Dearman got up and made the children face the wall, according to the report. Dearman caught the victim watching the two play video games and became angry, his girlfriend told deputies, and grabbed him and put him on the couch.
She said Dearman made his son lie on his side with his face against the rear couch cushions. The 270-pound Dearman then pinned the boy against the couch with his full body, while the victim screamed he couldn't breathe and tried to free himself, according to the report. Dearman and the girlfriend ignored the child and played video games while he screamed.
After five minutes the victim was motionless, and the couple went into the garage to smoke a cigarette. When they returned 10 minutes later, the boy was still lying on the couch. The girlfriend told deputies the boy's lips were blue and he was not breathing, so she "ran to the garage to pray."
Dearman called 911 and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.
Investigators interviewed the 7-year-old sibling, who confirmed the girlfriend's story and said: "When Dad squished him, he got dead."
They also told law enforcement the victim had urinated on himself after screaming he needed to use the bathroom while pinned down.
Investigators attempted to interview Dearman, but he refused to speak and said he wanted an attorney.
Dearman was arrested Monday on unrelated charges from Georgia of animal cruelty and criminal damage to property.
He was charged Wednesday with aggravated child abuse, and the charge was upgraded Thursday to aggravated manslaughter of a child. He is being held without bond at the Sarasota County jail.