Photos from Metro Police
Published Tuesday, March 1, 2011 | 3:14 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, March 1, 2011 | 5:28 p.m.
- Jury deliberations continue in trial of parents of boy who died in hot vehicle (2-28-2011)
- Jury to resume deliberations Monday in case of boy who died in hot SUV (2-24-2011)
- Jury deliberations continue in case of boy who died in hot vehicle (2-24-2011)
- Caregiver: Boy who died in hot vehicle had stale urine smell earlier at church (2-22-2011)
- Murder trial reset for parents of boy left in overheated vehicle (11-12-08)
- Trial set for parents of boy, 4, who died in hot vehicle (11-09-08)
- 4-year-old’s death ruled a homicide (7-18-08)
- Murder charges filed against parents of 4-year-old boy who died after 17 hours in car (6-25-09)
Stanley and Colleen Rimer, accused in the death of their special needs son who died after being left in a hot family vehicle in 2008, were found guilty Tuesday of involuntary manslaughter.
The eight-man, four-woman jury also found both of the parents guilty of multiple counts of child abuse and neglect.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo estimated that could mean prison terms from 14 to 36 years for Colleen Rimer and 21 1/2 to 54 years for Stanley Rimer.
Judge Douglas Herndon set bail at $500,000 for Stanley Rimer and $250,000 for Colleen Rimer. Sentencing was set for 9 a.m. May 31.
Despite arguments by their attorneys to let them stay under house arrest until sentencing, Herndon immediately remanded both of them into custody.
"You can't not look at the fact that we're dealing with a situation where a 4-year-old child was left alone for 17 hours without anybody ever having the state of mind to think to go look at him, look for him, to see if he needed lunch after being at church for three hours, needed dinner, needed to get ready for bed, no one checked any of those things," Herndon said.
Police said Jason’s body was found on Monday morning, June 8, 2008, after being left in the family's SUV, where he was strapped in his seat after his mother had driven him and several other members of the family home from church.
Both of the Rimers have said they were ill that day and were staying in their bedroom. They said they had thought one of the other children had taken Jason out of the vehicle. Jason had myotonic dystrophy and was unable to get out of the seat himself.
According to testimony, the temperature inside the locked car could have climbed to 130 degrees or more. Prosecutors told the jury the boy basically "baked to death" in the hot SUV.
During the trial, jurors heard from several of the Rimers’ eight children, from Child Protective Services investigators and a church caregiver about the conditions at the home and the hygiene of the children.
During the trial, prosecutors tried to demonstrate that the Rimers had a history of neglect and abuse of their eight children, which led to the tragedy of Jason being left in the vehicle.
The judge was particularly critical of Stanley Rimer.
"The thought process that goes into thinking it's OK to break a boat oar across the ass of your child is seriously flawed," Herndon said.
"It indicates to me a real concern about the kind of judgment that you exhibit about the affairs in your life.
"And that's separate and apart from the threats that were issued to state workers that are trying to help the children by calling them up and telling them you know where they live and spouting their home addresses."
The judge said because of those "threat of violence or just generalized threats to these people," he thought both of needed to be brought into custody and be psychologically evaluated before sentencing.
The jury had been asked to consider a second-degree murder charge in Jason Rimer's death, but returned a guilty verdict of the involuntary manslaughter instead.
The jury also found both of them guilty of child neglect and endangerment resulting in substantial bodily harm and both guilty of child abuse and neglect of Jason before June 8, 2008.
The jury also found Stanley Rimer guilty of separate child abuse and neglect charges of Spencer Rimer, Enoch Rimer and Quaylyn Rimer. Testimony in the trial revealed that Rimer used corporal punishment on the boys with two boat oars and that one of them had broken while he was disciplining one of his sons. Colleen Rimer was found not guilty of those charges.
The jury also found them both guilty of separate child abuse and neglect charge of their son Aaron Rimer, who has a learning disability and who was found by a special education teacher to have had body lice at one time.
The defense attorneys asked the judge to poll each of their jurors. Each of them agreed that those were the verdicts they had reached.
CORRECTION: An early version of this story included the incorrect year of Jason Rimer's death. | (March 2, 2011)