crimesider

"Game of Thrones" reminds foster dad of baby in hot car

Seth Jackson, 29. CBS affiliate KWCH

WICHITA, Kan. - A child crying on the television show "Game of Thrones" jogged a foster parent's memory that he had left a 10-month-old girl inside a sweltering car while he and his partner smoked marijuana at their house, a police affidavit released Monday says.

Seth Jackson, 29, is charged with first-degree murder in the July 24 death in Wichita, Kan. No charges have been filed against his partner. CBS affiliate KWCH reports Jackson posted bond on Saturday.

Police say Kadillak Poe-Jones was inside the car with the windows up for more than two hours, according to the station. It was around 90 degrees outside. An autopsy showed the girl died of hyperthermia due to heat exposure.

The affidavit says Jackson's partner told police that Jackson called that day to let him know he would be picking the 10-month-old up from the babysitter after taking their 5-year-old adopted child to a doctor's appointment. Jackson told police that when he arrived home, he locked the car and went inside with his 5-year-old and the pizza.

Jackson's partner said he and Jackson watched one and a half episodes of "Games of Thrones" and smoked marijuana Jackson had picked up that day, according to the affidavit. The partner told police Jackson realized he had left the 10-month-old outside in the car when he heard a child crying on the TV show.

The men rushed outside, Jackson unlocked the vehicle and his partner removed the child.

The partner told investigators the girl was hot and stiff when he grabbed her from the car and carried her into the house. As he called 911, Jackson attempted CPR but could not get the child's mouth open, according to the affidavit filed by Wichita police detective Ryan Schomaker.

Officers who responded found Jackson still on the phone when they arrived, making calls and repeatedly stating, "I left her in the car, she's dead, she's dead," according to the affidavit.

Meanwhile, the girl was unresponsive and lying on her back on the couch. Firefighters moved the girl from the couch to the floor once they arrived and attempted to revive her.

Later in an interview at police headquarters, Jackson's partner told detectives he and Jackson had been foster parents to the 10-month-old girl since she was 2 weeks old. Police have not released the child's name and documents in the case only use her initials.

Although the girl died of hyperthermia, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said the first-degree murder charge was warranted because the child died during the commission of an inherently dangerous felony, aggravated endangering of a child. The case is not charged as intentional murder.

Jackson's defense attorney, Leslie Hulnick, called the charges "ludicrous." He said his client has been on suicide watch in the days since the incident.

"There is not one scintilla of intent on behalf of my client to hurt or harm any of those children," Hulnick told KWCH. "This is a young man who's never been in any trouble before. He is a church-goer.... [Jackson] is looking at the same sentence as if he walked into somebody's home or a store, pulled out a firearm and shot them. These are two horses of a very different color."

In addition to the 10-month-old, who they were trying to adopt, Jackson and his partner had five other children in their care. They had three other foster children ages 3, 5 and 18, and two adopted children ages 5 and 7. The two younger foster children were visiting other relatives at the time the 10-month-old died.

Prosecutors and Jackson's attorneys agree the circumstances are entirely different than a widely publicized case in Georgia, where a father faces murder and child cruelty charges on suspicion of intentionally leaving a 22-month-old boy inside a hot car last month as he went to work.

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