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story.lead_photo.caption Suspended Garland County Circuit Judge Wade Naramore and his wife, Ashley, leave the Garland County Courthouse on Friday. ( THE SENTINEL-RECORD / Richard Rasmussen)

HOT SPRINGS -- Garland County Circuit Judge Wade Naramore and his wife, Ashley, wanted to celebrate their five-year wedding anniversary on the evening of July 24, 2015, with their 17-month-old son Thomas by their side.


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Wade Naramore left the courthouse midday, picked up steaks and wine, then bought his wife a certificate for a day at a spa before heading to his home on Belaire Loop. He packed a bag with Thomas' swimming gear and cut a few grapes and strawberries in half so the fruit could fit in Thomas' tiny hands. About 3 p.m. he headed out the door toward the day care at First United Methodist Church.

In his car, he called his mother-in-law to let her know that he was picking up Thomas that day to take him to swimming lessons and then back home for the anniversary family dinner.

As he took a sharp curve in the road, Naramore heard a sound in the back seat.

Then he saw a tiny foot dangling from Thomas' car seat.

"I freaked out," a distraught Naramore is heard telling Hot Springs detectives on a videotape of a police interview conducted in November.

As jurors watched the video Wednesday on the third day of Naramore's negligent-homicide trial, some wiped away tears while others scribbled notes. One juror glanced at the defense table where Naramore, 36, cradled his face in his hands as he sobbed.

The state rested its case against Naramore about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday after hearing from three witnesses that day and 10 the previous day.

Special Circuit Judge John Langston denied a motion for an immediate innocent verdict from defense attorney Erin Cassinelli -- who said the state failed to prove its case -- before turning the trial over to the defense to call its witnesses.

Earlier in the day, jurors heard the 911 call from Naramore that was made after he stopped the car in the middle of the road and ran to grab Thomas from his car seat. Screaming for help, Naramore sat on the grass cradling his son as he called 911.

"I need a ... I need somebody to contact me immediately. My son's in the car, and, and I, and I...He stayed back there," Naramore is heard telling the 911 operator.

When the operator asks Naramore what's wrong, Naramore wails, "It's too late! I think he's dead!"

Ashley Naramore wailed loudly from her seat in the front row directly behind her husband. She bent forward, clutching her stomach as family members surrounded her and then led her from the courtroom.

At the defense table, Wade Naramore broke down in sobs.

During each recess at the trial, Wade Naramore walked out of the trial arena to gather his wife in his arms, rocking her back and forth as she cried.

In the video of the police interview, detective Mark Fallis asked Naramore about rumors that he was having an affair at the time of Thomas' death. Naramore denied the accusation, saying he "never even kissed" another woman since he first began dating his wife.

In the video, Fallis tapped his hands on a file in front of him and tells Naramore that he has her name in the file.

Defense attorney Patrick Benca grilled Fallis on the stand Wednesday, saying that Fallis lied about the girlfriend.

Fallis said the name was not in the case file, but that special prosecutor Scott Ellington had received an anonymous tip with the name of a woman with whom Naramore was allegedly having an affair.

"So you lied to us?" Benca asked.

"Yes, sir," Fallis answered.

Benca asked if in his investigation any evidence of infidelity was found.

"None," Fallis answered.

Benca also questioned Fallis about several witnesses who were not questioned, including certain daycare workers, Naramore's father-in-law or Thomas' pediatrician.

Dr. David Slay, who had cared for Thomas since he was 2 days old, was the defense team's first witness.

Slay testified that Thomas was well cared for and there was no evidence of abuse or neglect. Cassinelli then asked him if he had ever forgotten his own child in the car.

"I have had a near miss," he said quietly.

When his youngest child was 2 years old, Slay said, he was exhausted after being on call all night and was consumed with thoughts of a sick patient. The next morning he pulled into the parking lot at the hospital, opened the back door to get his lab coat and discovered that he had forgotten to drop his child off at daycare.

If not for the lab coat in the back seat, Slay testified that he "would've rushed upstairs to see the patient I was worried about" and left his child in the car.

On cross examination, deputy prosecutor Thomas Young asked Slay how many patients out of the thousands he has seen in his 16-year career were left in a hot vehicle.

Slay said Thomas Naramore was the first.

On redirect, Cassinelli asked Slay if it were possible that some of his patients had been left in hot vehicles but the parents did not report it.

Slay shrugged then said, "You know, I didn't tell anyone when I had my near miss."

The trial will resume at 9 a.m. today at the Garland County Courthouse.

Metro on 08/18/2016

Print Headline: 'I freaked out,' judge told police; Naramore on video details events of the day boy died


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Archived Comments

  • Nodmcm
    August 18, 2016 at 5:15 a.m.

    Interestingly, the police detective investigating the case admitted that he is a liar, and that he lies to judges like Judge Naramore. We keep learning that our police use lies to try to fool criminal suspects, but they also are getting caught lying in police reports after videos of arrests come to light. It is not good for the public to think that law enforcement officers are habitual liars. It might be best for police to shift to investigative and interrogative techniques that do not require the use of lies and subterfuge. The old saying goes, "Once a liar, always a liar." Could you believe a witness on the stand at a trial, if he admits he regularly lies to people, in order to achieve his ends? Our police officers are too important to be thought of a liars, as the detective in this case admits he is a regular liar, at least when questioning suspects. We need them to be thought of as truthful witnesses. This is one reason we are seeing a decrease in respect for law enforcement.

  • MaxCady
    August 18, 2016 at 8:50 a.m.

    Did he ask for help on that 911 call?

  • Queen1976
    August 18, 2016 at 8:50 a.m.

    I believe that this was a terrible, tragic accident & the legal system needs to review if an accident of this nature should be tried in court. The parents are already paying a huge loss & have been punished enough with the death of their child. With that being said, Judge Naramore has sentenced other folks that this has happened to & all of those sentences should be re-reviewed.

    August 18, 2016 at 10:38 a.m.

    Lying Police Officers, How Low will we go?? Integrity is severely lacking in everyday life anymore, No one's Word is good anymore. Police Lying in the every day line of work, Society is going to Hell in a Hand basket and our Elected Officials are Leading the Way. Awarding Medals to Police for Murdering a 107 Year old Man in Pine Bluff Arkansas is a Prime Example.

  • LR1955
    August 18, 2016 at 10:40 a.m.

    I recall seeing some "child in car/bus" articles in the ArDemGaz. In a few, the driver/responsible person knowingly left a child in a parked vehicle while they did other activities or were under the influence of substances; Those would seem to be fitting the neglect description.
    But yeah, if cases this judge handled were similar to his own situation, those should be reviewed. And maybe that's happened or happening now.

  • MM03
    August 18, 2016 at 1:24 p.m.

    I do not care if this guy is convicted but I refuse to believe the "out" or excuse that, "it can happen to anybody." That is patently false and simply an excuse. Every behavior and action has an excuse today. There IS NO EXCUSE for leaving your child in a car for hours. It is total negligence and extreme lack of care. PERIOD. It would never happen to me and would never happen to any of my close friends and family. It does make you wonder if this guy had a girlfriend or some other distraction (drugs?). It seems so impossible to me that it would have to have a cause like that to ever occur.

  • JoeHartwig
    August 18, 2016 at 3:10 p.m.

    I have so much difficulty with this. Certainly the loss of a child seems punishment enough. And certainly the State should actively discourage this sort of lethal absent-mindedness. Glad it's not me either at the dock or in the jury box.

  • LR1955
    August 18, 2016 at 3:31 p.m.

    susanshad says... August 18, 2016 at 2:33 p.m. The jury will decide the outcome. It is not our place to judge- we are not on the jury. We are not in the courtroom. I believe in our legal system. I pray for their wisdom. This is a lose-lose-lose situation. I hope the publicity this case gets saves a child.