Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dad charged with 2nd-degree murder in death of 11-week-old son (Largo, Florida)

Notice that the parents did NOT live together, and that Mom was working while Daddy was playing infant caretaker of a baby that was just 11-weeks old. Not much of a maternity leave for Mom, was it? But of course, we don't believe it letting moms take care of their babies in this country any more. We're now told that's socialist, don't you know. Or maybe just too old-fashioned. Moms are supposed to work and let the deadbeat dad do childcare, even when the dad has a history of child abuse like this one does. And all he got for it was probation. What else do you need to know about how seriously we take child abuse by fathers, especially in the State of Florida?

Oh, the daddy in this particular case is TRACY A. PETHEL. Always like to name the names. Even if the media often doesn't, especially of the judges who order these kids into the care of daddies like Pethel.

Since the parents were not together, I can't help but wonder if this was an informal babysitting arrangment or whether this was court-ordered visitation by an (unnamed) judge? As usual, there is no explanation, so we're left not knowing.

Largo man accused of killing his infant son
By Rita Farlow, Times Staff Writer
Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tracy A. Pethtel, 23, of Largo, was charged with second- degree murder in his son’s death.

LARGO — The release of a medical examiner's report has led authorities to arrest a 23-year-old Largo man and accuse him of killing his infant son in May.

Tracy A. Pethtel of 401 Rosery Road NE, No. 819, was caring for his 11-week-old son at his apartment on May 29 when the baby began making "gasping noises" and started to become unresponsive, said Largo police spokesman Lt. Mike Loux.

Pethtel and his roommate, who was not identified by police, took the baby to Bardmoor Emergency Center on Bryan Dairy Road.

The baby was later transferred to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, where he died May 30, Loux said.

This week, police received a medical examiner's report that found the infant died from blunt head trauma, authorities said. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

A detective who went to the Bardmoor emergency room on May 29 said in an arrest affidavit that he saw "a linear purple mark" on the baby's right temple, as well as a scratch under his chin and "small, circular pin-shaped red marks on the left side of the neck."

Pethtel was arrested Tuesday evening and charged with second-degree murder. On Wednesday, he was being held without bail in the Pinellas County Jail.

Loux said the baby's mother, who is Pethtel's girlfriend, was at work during the time frame that investigators believe the infant was injured. Pethtel's roommate was in his room and is not believed to be involved, Loux said.

"During the five hours when it's thought this child was mortally wounded, the child was alone with the father," Loux said.

When interviewed, Pethtel denied harming the baby, Loux said.

Pinellas court records show Pethtel was arrested on a charge of lewd and lascivious battery in January 2006. The charge was amended to child abuse and Pethtel pleaded guilty. Adjudication was withheld, which means a formal conviction was withheld, and he received three and a half years of probation.