BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The lawyer representing the father who was arrested for negligent homicide after his 4-year-old child died says the incident is a tragedy, but claims he is innocent.
Attorney Ronald Haley Jr. released the following statement:
"My client on his own wanted to know what he can do immediately to clear himself," said Haley.
Kristopher Carter, 25, was arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison after police say an investigation revealed that Marcel, 4, died from an injury that was caused while the two were "play fighting."
"The witness advised that they observed [Carter] 'play fighting' with the victim," states the probable cause report submitted by the Baton Rouge Police Department. "The witness advised that [Carter] was punching on the victim with a closed fist and making the victim punch him back."
During an interview with the child's mother, investigators say she was aware that Carter would "play fight" with Marcel and she has told him not to do that because Carter "would sometimes hit the victim too hard."
But Carter's lawyer says the details in the report do not match with what they have gathered.
"Our firm is currently investigating this matter and our preliminary results draw a different conclusion to what may have caused Marcel's death than one presented in the warrant," said Haley. "We plan on sharing the results of our investigation with the District Attorney's Office and look forward to clearing our client of these accusations so that the families that loved young Marcel can heal."
An autopsy conducted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner determined that Marcel died from a laceration to his small bowel, which was caused by blunt force trauma.
The investigating officer claims that Carter knew the child was ill, but failed to take the child to the hospital until it was too late.
"The victim later defecated on himself and vomited while at his home," states the report. "The victim refused to eat and slept throughout the rest of the day. The victim developed diarrhea and his condition continued to get worse."
It was when Marcel stopped breathing that Carter took the child to the hospital. "We believe that whatever caused this took place prior to my client having physical custody for the evening. Bicycle accidents, or something, child has a bike, car accidents, where a seat belt would come across. There are all sorts of things that can happen. It's not necessarily an intentional act," said Haley.
East Baton Rouge Coroner William Clark says it's difficult to determine just how hard Marcel was hit in order to cause the injury. "Essentially, minimal force can cause the issue, but also maximal force can as well. The amount of force really can be on both ends of the spectrum," said Clark.
"[Carter] advised that he attempted CPR, but to no avail," states the report. "[Carter] advised that he didn't take the victim to the hospital earlier because the victim advised that he didn't want to go to the hospital."
Carter was released after posting a $40,000 bond.