THE NEWS DESKAugust 16th, 2012, 1:45 pm
The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Man imprisoned in bathtub-death of child
BY KEITH EPPS
A King George County man was ordered to serve a total of 18 months in prison Thursday in connection with last year’s drowning death of his 8-month-old daughter.
Jason William King, 35, was sentenced to a total of 12 years with all but the 18 months suspended following an emotional hearing in King George Circuit Court.
Michelle King, who had pleaded with Judge J. Martin Bass not to send her husband to prison, wailed as Jason King was taken from the courtroom.
According to the evidence presented by Commonwealth’s Attorney Matt Britton, Jason King was home with four of his five children the afternoon of Sept. 16 when he put little Kasey King in the bathtub.
There was only about an inch of water in the tub when King left the room while taking a business-related phone call, but there was considerably more water when he returned a few minutes later. Britton said King told police that an older child had turned on the water.
The baby was unresponsive in the water and could not be revived.
King was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Britton said the contributing charges stemmed from two children having a knife and a gun when police arrived.
Defense attorney Mark Murphy asked Bass not to send King to prison. He said King is suffering every day for his tragic mistake, and sending him away would only hurt his family.
A sobbing Michelle King testified the Kasey’s death has devastated the family and that locking up her husband would only make things worse. “It’s like my family is stuck on Sept. 16,” she said. “We don’t have a lot, but we have each other. He’s a good man and a good daddy, and I can’t do it alone.”
Jason King also urged the judge not to send him away, though said he would gladly spend the rest of his life in jail if it would bring his daughter back.
“Incarceration is for bad people and I’m not a bad person,” King said. “I take full responsibility for what happened to my daughter, but my wife and children should not be punished for for this.”
The Kings have five children, including a son who was born after Kasey’s death.
Britton said there was no reason King shouldn’t have to serve some time. He said King has a prior criminal record, and he said leaving “an 8-month-old alone in a tub is something any adult should know better than to do.”
Bass’ sentence was below the recommended state sentencing guidelines, which called for a sentence ranging from three years to nearly seven years.
King will likely only have to serve half of his misdemeanor time and he received credit for the 23 days he has already served, meaning he should be released in about a year.