Police: Englewood father suffocated son to death on Christmas Eve

Reporter: Kristi Gross
Published: Updated:

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – A 31-year-old father of two is behind bars after investigators said he suffocated his son to death by sitting on him.

James Dearman, of 920 Lord St. in Englewood, was arrested and charged Monday with aggravated manslaughter of a child. Dearman, who made his first court appearance on Thursday, remained in the Sarasota County jail on Friday under a $1 million bond.

Dearman also has a fugitive warrant out of McIntosh County, Ga., according to jail records.

Dearman was playing video games with his live-in girlfriend on Christmas Eve when he became angry after his son wouldn’t go to bed, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said.

Dearman initially made the boy stand in a corner as punishment, but when he saw the child looking at the video game instead of the wall, he forced the boy to lay on the couch, then sat on him with his face pressed against the cushions, investigators said.

Dearman weighs 270 pounds, investigators said.

As the couple continued playing the video game, the boy screamed and attempted to free himself for five minutes until he stopped moving, investigators said.

The child was motionless for another 10 minutes while the couple went to smoke, investigators said.

When they realized the child was unresponsive, Dearman’s girlfriend ran to the garage to pray while he called 911 and performed CPR until paramedics arrived, investigators said. The boy was later pronounced dead.

Dearman’s young daughter, who witnessed the incident, was taken into custody by the state Department of Children and Families. The agency said they had no prior contact with the family.

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