Why Murray County grandmother is charged with second degree murder
A one year old boy died this week and a grandmother is set to face a judge, charged with second degree murder. Sharon Carrell is being blamed for Patrick Darnell's death. Though one family member told Channel 3 Tuesday night the tragedy was not intentional, under a recent Georgia law Carrell is being held criminally responsible.
MURRAY COUNTY, GA (WRCB) Murray County grandmother Sharon Carrell was denied bond Wednesday morning. She's charged in the death of her one-year-old grandson.
Sharon Carrell is being blamed for Patrick Darnell's Death after the toddler died on Sunday.
"Patrick was one of those little boys... he'd make you just smile," said Patrick's uncle Marcus Carrell.
Marcus Carrell found his nephew unresponsive in the bathtub last Wednesday. Officials say he was burned badly, face down in scalding hot water. The grandmother told her family she had just put the baby in an empty tub with his 2-year-old sister.
She believes she was outside for 2 to 3 minutes.
"I don't think she did it intentionally," said Marcus Carrell. " She was very protective over us when we were kids."
Carrell's public Facebook page shows her pleading for prayers and a miracle. While some family members believe it was an accident, Sharon now faces second degree murder, cruelty to a child and making false statement charges.
"We met with the District Attorney's office and decided these charges would be held for the negligence," said GBI Special Agent Joe Montgomery.
According to Georgia law, murder can be committed 1 of 2 ways. The first is commonly known as malice murder with intent or malice aforethought. The second is classified as felony murder, which happens when a person causes the death of another, in the commission of a felony, irrespective of malice. Both carry sentences of life, life without parole or death.
Murder in the second degree is defined as follows: " A person commits the offense of murder in the second degree when, in the commission of cruelty to children in the second degree, he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice." Any other felony that results in a death would be charged as felony murder.
District Attorney Bert Poston says,"The only way to be convicted of murder in the second degree is to also be convicted of cruelty to children in the 2nd degree and for the jury to determine that the conduct underlying the cruelty charge caused the death of the child."
According to state law, "Any person commits the offense of cruelty to children in the second degree, when such person with criminal negligence causes a child under the age of 18 cruel or excessive physical or mental pain."
This type of murder was added to the code effective July 1, 2014.
It could be months before a jury hears Sharon Carrell's case. Marcus Carrell says for now the family is concentrating on Patrick and how he'll be missed.
"I love my sister to death and I hate she had to go through something like this," said Marcus Carrell. "We're hanging in there and i think we'll all hang in there the best we can."
Under state law, Carrell could defend herself by saying the boy's death was an accident. A jury would have to find that there was no intent or negligence. The second degree murder conviction carries a 10-30 year sentence. The GBI is conducting an autopsy Wednesday, December 23, Stay with Channel 3 for any developments.
For a link to the baby Patrick's GoFundMe page, created by family : Click Here