Doped up parents jailed for JUST 4 years after son, 2, died in hot car as they slept
DOTHAN, ALABAMA: The parents of an Alabama toddler who died in 2019 after being left for hours inside a car on a hot June day have pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter. And reportedly, they have both been sentenced to more than four years in prison.
Robert Patrick King, 36, pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter on Thursday, October 21, and was sentenced to more than four years in prison. His ex-wife Melinda King, 40, got the same sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter in August.
Castiel King was just two when he died on June 28, 2019, in Dothan, Alabama, after climbing into his parents' unlocked Mazda sports car around 3.15 pm that summer day. And Castiel remained there until an older sibling found him about four hours later, he couldn’t get out. Investigators said that temperatures that day in Dothan topped 90 degrees, but temperatures inside the car reached about 120 degrees. Castiel was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Authorities alleged the couple was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at home in the 200 Block of Lace Drive in Dothan when Castiel went outside and climbed into the car, the couple reportedly nodded off after drinking and smoking marijuana at their home in Dothan. Cops also reportedly found nearly two pounds of marijuana in their home following their son's death.
Both of the Kings originally pleaded not guilty to the charge but reversed their plea before their respective trial dates. Since Castiel's death, their surviving children have been placed in a relative's custody and the couple has filed for divorce. Melinda's defense attorney Raynor Clifton said of her guilty plea: “(She) has taken responsibility for what happened, and she will regret this for the rest of her life.”
After the couple’s arrest in 2019, the Dothan Police Department issued a statement that read. “An investigation into the circumstances of the death revealed that the child was left unattended by the parents, Robert Patrick King and Melinda Gail King, he exited the home and entered the vehicle on his own. Both parents were asleep in the home and under the influence of intoxicants. As a result of the investigation, they were both charged with one count of manslaughter each, and both have a $30,000.00 bond.”
Back in August 2019, Dothan police found Robert so drunk he had to use a bush to maintain his balance. Officers arrested him on a misdemeanor charge of Public Intoxication. Robert, who admitted consuming alcohol, walked to a store where he purchased two cans of Four Loko, marketed as a premium energy malt beverage. Officers found him balancing himself by “hanging on” to a bush on the side of the road near his home. He was reportedly sent back to jail where he reportedly had a substance abuse evaluation and assessment for treatment.