Father Pleads Guilty To Burning, Killing Son

Date: 2003-12-03
Source: newsnet5.com

Father Pleads Guilty To Burning, Killing Son

Thompson Receives Mandatory Sentence

December 3, 2003

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A father charged with killing his 3-year-old son after placing the child in scalding water changed his plea to guilty Wednesday.

Gary Thompson admitted in court Wednesday that he killed his son, Liam, more than a month ago. The boy, who was adopted from Russia, died after he was burned. Police said his parents failed to get him medical attention.

Thompson pleaded guilty to one count of murder. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

Thompson called 911 on Oct. 16 and said his son was unresponsive in a house he shared with his family on Navion Court in Columbus.

Five days prior, Thompson allegedly placed Liam in a bathtub of scalding water, Burton reported. Assistant prosecutor Dan Hawkins said Thompson was aware of what he was doing to his son.

"It was estimated to be around 140 degrees," Hawkins said. "The defendant put Liam in this water. Liam was crying, screaming hysterically. The defendant continued to force this child in the bathtub, put him down in this scalding water. Eventually, the defendant removed Liam from the tub. His skin was found peeling off much of this child's body."

Prosecutors said that what was even more disturbing was that Thompson and his wife, Amy (pictured, right), allegedly placed the child in a cold, dark basement and locked him there for days. Police said the boy was found unresponsive on a mattress in the basement.

Thompson said he decided to plead guilty to spare his teenage daughter, who he said knew what was happening to Liam.

"I don't want my daughter to testify," Thompson said in court while crying. "She's only 15. Who do I have to protect her?"

NewsChannel 4 learned that a key piece of evidence in the case was a diary that Amy Thompson kept after Liam was adopted five months ago. Police found the diary after obtaining a search warrant to get the Thompsons' computer. Authorities will not say what was in the diary or how it played a role in the boy's murder.

Amy Thompson also faces murder charges. Her trial is set for Feb. 11.

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