Florida father accused of killing 6-year-old son by crushing him into couch

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James Dearman

James Dearman

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. — A 6-year-old boy is dead after authorities say his father pinned the child against the couch while he and his girlfriend played video games on Christmas Eve.

According to WTSP, deputies arrived at the home around 11:10 p.m. to find 31-year-old James Dearman who told them his son had stopped breathing. The child was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Dearman and his live-in girlfriend were playing video games and told the boy and his 7-year-old brother to go to bed — but, when they wouldn’t listen, he made them stand against the wall, according to a Sarasota County Sheriff’s report.

When his son turned around to look at the TV, authorities say Dearman got angry and pulled the child over to the couch where he forced him to lie on his side facing the back cushions. He then used his body weight to pin the boy down.

The boy screamed that he couldn’t breathe and asked to use the bathroom, eventually urinating on the couch, reports WTSP. Dearman and his girlfriend reportedly left the child on the couch, and went to the garage to smoke a cigarette before calling 911.

Dearman was arrested Monday on an outstanding warrant from Georgia for Animal Cruelty and Criminal Damage to Property. On Wednesday, he was charged with aggravated child abuse and is being held on all charges without bond at the Sarasota County Jail. Dearman’s history includes an arrest in 2008 for Desertion from the Navy.

The boy’s sibling was not injured and is in the protective custody of the Department of Children and Family Services.