Dad pleads guilty in death of son left in hot car

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- An Arizona man pleaded guilty to manslaughter and child abuse for having left his infant son inside a parked car for several hours without air conditioning last summer.

Authorities say Daniel Bryant Gray, 32, had smoked marijuana during part of the time when 3-month-old James Gray was left inside the parked sedan outside the Scottsdale sports bar where the father worked as a manager. Gray, who faces four to 16 years in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 20.

Gray's lawyer, Erika Warner, summarized her client's involvement in the child's death by saying Gray endangered the child and caused the death. Asked by Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Virginia Richter whether his attorney's statement was true, Gray said, "Yes, your honor."

Authorities say Gray inadvertently left the infant inside his car on Aug. 28 when he stopped off at the bar on his day off to perform duties that couldn't wait until his next shift.

Investigators say Gray had smoked marijuana with an employee shortly before realizing that he left his son inside his sedan for about three hours.

Police also said Gray completed his duties, helped kitchen staff with food preparation and asked an employee for marijuana before the two went outside to use the drug near Gray's car.

Gray later discovered the child when he returned to his car to get paperwork. He ran back inside with the child still in the car seat and brought him into a cooler.

"I left my baby in the car and he's dead!" police quoted Gray as saying.

Gray tried fanning the infant, whose core temperature was determined to have reached 107 degrees. Employees and emergency workers tried CPR on the child, but he was later pronounced dead.

Investigators described Gray, who had denied to police using marijuana on the day of the child's death, as distraught and emotional throughout his police interview.

Another employee told police that Gray was seen smoking marijuana in the bar's cooler the day before his son's death.

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