Judge grants bond to Norfolk father charged in son’s death


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A judge granted a conditional bond Monday to a Norfolk father charged in the beating death of his 4-year-old son, but Hank Smith is not getting out of jail today.

Prosecutors are going to appeal the judge’s ruling, so the judge said Smith will remain in jail until the appeal is heard. That should happen later this week.

Police charged Smith, 40, with felony homicide in the death of his son, Larkin Carr. The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force arrested Smith in Harrisonburg last month.

4-year-old Larkin died in November 2018 of blunt force trauma, allegedly caused by being beaten by a 14-year-old boy who lived in the same home.

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Police believe Robert Bolsinger-Hartshorn, now 15, beat Larkin to death and that his mother, Catherine Seals, knew about the abuse but did not seek help.

“He spent very little time at the house,” said Smith’s attorney Kristin Paulding. “Hank’s job caused him to work out of town so the primary care giver was Mrs. Seals and then Robbie was under her care.”

Prosecutors say the weekend Larkin died he was throwing up blood after being hit in the stomach with a chair. That caused internal bleeding. Smith never called 911, prosecutors say.

“I think Hank knew what he could do was to get some pepto-bismol to see if he got better in a few day and unfortunately Larkin had passed away by that point,” Paulding added.

Prosecutors told the judge Monday that Smith had photos of Larkin’s bruises on this cell phone.  He told 10 On Your Side from jail he rarely saw bruising, though Larkin had almost 90 bruises on him when he died.

“Hank, unfortunately, I don’t think realized the extent of the injury,” Paulding said.

Robert was charged with second-degree murder.

Seals pleaded guilty a month ago to felony homicide and felony child abuse with serious injury in connection to Larkin’s death. Her sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 31.

10 On Your Side’s Jason Marks spoke to Smith’s attorney after the judge granted Smith a $25,000 bond with conditions. Those conditions include not being able to leave the state and not having contact with anyone under the age of 18.

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