Miles Harrison fell down on his knees and wept when the judge found him not guilty of involuntary manslaughter of his 21-month-old son, whom Harrison adopted in Russia. The man left the little boy in his sweltering SUV for nine hours in July. The boy, whom the Harrisons named as Chase, died of thermal shock, The Washington Post wrote.
Harrison did not release any statements after the non-guilty verdict, although reporters managed to interview his sister, Jane Kershner. She said that Harrison and his wife, Carol, will finally be able to grieve the loss of their Chase. Harrison was arrested very soon after the incident and thus had no time to stay with his family. Kershner added that her brother Miles was incredibly happy when he finally adopted Chase. He was a responsible father , the woman added.
The case has been closed, the verdict has been announced, but the answer to the most important question in this terrible story remains unknown. How could a loving and responsible father forget his 21-month-old boy in a car for NINE hours? Harrison only said that he did not know how to explain his forgetfulness.
It is an open secret that US courts often use exemption law in their practice. This is exactly the reason why Miles Harrison avoided a prison term. The Supreme Court of the State of Virginia ruled in 1930 that a person, who incidentally murders another person, even if he or she can be accused of negligence, shall not be considered a criminal if his or her negligence is not the consequence of complete disdain for human life.
Both Miles Harrison and his wife Carol spent many of the court hearings in tears. They could not be accused of having a disdain for human life, and Miles was thus acquitted of felony charges.
Russian diplomats have already set out their concerns in connection with the court verdict. The press secretary of the Russian Embassy in the United States, Yevgeny Khorishko, told Itar-Tass that the embassy had been in contact with Virginia’s law-enforcement agencies since the very beginning of the investigation. “We suggest the US authorities should appeal against the blatant ruling, which relieves the murderer of the juvenile Russian citizen of responsibility. The unfair verdict must be revised,” the official said.
“We do not understand, what was guiding the judge when he found no formal element of a crime in the actions of the adoptive father and relived him of punishment. We know how strict US laws are when it comes to the protection of children’s rights. In this case, however, we do not understand the gentleness, which the judge showed to the man, who had left the little boy locked up in his car to die a terrible death in sweltering summer heat,” the official added.
The Harrisons adopted the boy, Dmitry Yakovlev, from the Pskov region of Russia in the spring of 2007. The new parents named the boy Chase. The tragedy took place only three months after adoption, in July 2007. Miles Harrison was supposed to leave the boy in a kindergarten on his way to work, but he had not done so for some reason which he could not specify himself. He parked his SUV near his office and left. Someone saw the child left in the backseat of Harrison’s vehicle and informed the office secretary of that. The adoptive father rushed to the parking lot but it was too late.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko had a telephone conversation with US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan