Kansas foster father Seth M. Jackson, 29, has been charged with first-degree murder after allegedly leaving a 10-month-old girl in a hot car where she died.
During a bond hearing in the case, it was reported that Jackson was under the influence of marijuana when he left the girl in the car alone.
Jackson’s bond was asked to be raised to $250,000 by Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett.
Bennett claims Jackson left the girl alone in the car while he went inside his home to do drugs, reports the Daily Mail.
The temperature at the time was around 90 degrees.
John Stang, Jackson’s defense lawyer, claims the first-degree murder charge is too harsh.
Stang told NBC News that the child’s death was “purely accidental and the circumstances don’t support a first-degree murder charge.”
"Overcharged, in my opinion," Stang said. "Rather high for a mistake. I'm not trying to say it's not a horrible loss. The death of a child is an awful thing. But this person is looking at 15 more years than someone who was driving drunk and ran into a car and killed someone."
Bennett sees the first-degree charge as warranted because the “child died during the commission of an inherently dangerous felony — aggravated endangering of a child.”
Neither side alleges the child was intentionally left in the car by Jackson.
Jackson and his partner, Payton Schroeder, had cared for the girl, known as Anna to them and Kadillak to her biological relatives, for most of her life. They are parents to two adopted boys, aged five and seven.
Jackson and Schroeder were trying to adopt Anna when her tragic death occurred.
Police state that both Jackson and Schroeder were distraught over what happened.
“He wants to die,” Jackson’s mother Dottie said. “Seth's children - that's his life.”
"He is grieving for the child," Stang said. "He feels awful. He knows he made a mistake and he accepts responsibility for the mistake. He knows because of his actions, Kadillak is dead."
The couple’s adoptive children are currently in protective custody. Schroeder will not face charges in the case.
The child’s grandmother, Cindy Poe, is surprised by the first-degree murder charge.
"It blows my mind," Poe said. "He loved those kids and they loved him so much. I'm mad, but at the same time, accidents do happen. I'm sure he is beat down inside. It's hard to say what the charge should be."
Spokesman for the Sedgwick County district attorney, Dan Dillon, said that after reviewing the case “we determined these were appropriate charges based on the evidence."
According to police, Jackson picked up Anna from daycare and left her strapped in her car seat inside the hot car after going inside his home with his five-year-old son. Jackson allegedly forgot she was in the car for two hours until he saw something on TV that jogged his memory.
The child was pronounced dead when emergency responders arrived on the scene.
Photo Source: Facebook/The Daily Mail