Grandfather charged in infant heat death

June 23, 2008 4:12:18 PM PDT
58-year-old Edward Kanterman is charged with involuntary manslaughter. Police say he left his grandson locked in a car in a parking lot on one of the hottest days of the year... four days into a killer heat wave that was highly publicized. "Ignoring that and the threat to human life posed by that type of a risk, I believe is gross negligence," said Delaware County D.A. Michael Green during a press conference Monday.

Edward Kanterman was in handcuffs as police brought him in to face the criminal charge.

On June 10th he was supposed to drop his 14-month-old grandson off at day care. Instead, police say he went straight to his job as an electronics instructor at CHI Institute.

Nicholas McCorkel died in his SUV after being left for almost five and a half hours. At the hospital the baby's core temperature was measured at over 107 degrees. Four days later he was declared brain dead and taken off life support.

Kanterman's lawyer calls it a tragic accident. The prosecutor says it's criminal and disturbing.

Green said, "It's upsetting for prosecutors for a lot of reasons."

Nicholas' mother is also upset. Rebecca Kanterman says criminal charges just add to the suffering her father and the family have already endured.

Rebecca told Action News, "My dad loved Nicholas. Charging him, I understand that have to do what they have to do, but putting him in jail is only going hurt everybody, and make the decision a lot harder on everybody. So, it's just not helping anything. It's making it a lot worse on the whole family."

The D.A. says he understands the family's feelings, but he says the law has to speak for the defenseless - for the 14-month-old child who suffered hour after hour of agony in a sweltering oven before passing out.

Nicholas' father says the family has forgiven Kanterman.

Chris McCorkle tells us, "The man didn't do it on purpose. It was a complete accident, and we all believe that 100-percent. And we'll be there the whole time - everything, whatever goes on with it. We'll be there to support him."

Edward Kanterman has been released on $10,000 unsecured bail. He faces up to 10 years if convicted, but given the totality of the situation, his eventual penalty will likely be far less.