Trial begins for father charged with homicide in the death of 4-year-old Larkin Carter Carr

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The jury trial for a Norfolk father charged in connection with the death of his 4-year-old son began Tuesday.

Hank Smith is charged with one count of felony homicide, one count of child abuse/neglect, one count of child neglect and one count of child cruelty. His son Larkin Carter Carr died in November 2018 from injuries he allegedly sustained from being beaten by Robert Bolsinger-Hartshorn, the then-14-year-old son of Larkin’s father’s girlfriend.

The teen was charged with second-degree murder and will be tried as an adult. He pleaded not guilty. His trial will start in February.

Bolsinger-Hartshorn’s mother, Catherine Seals, also faced felony homicide charges in Larkin’s death. She pleaded guilty in November 2019 and is expected to testify at Smith’s trial.

During the prosecution’s opening statements for Smith’s trial on Tuesday, prosecutors argued Smith knew his girlfriend’s 14-year-old son was abusing 4-year-old Larkin. Prosecutors said this abuse directly led to Larkin’s death.

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The defense’s opening statement focused on showing Smith was a loving and caring father who had no idea 14-year old Bolsinger-Hartshorn was capable of such abuse.

Next, prosecutors called their first witness.

First, the court heard from the Norfolk firefighter who responded to the 911 call. He said Larkin was lying on the living room couch when he arrived. The child wasn’t breathing and had no pulse.

When he moved Larkin to the ambulance for care, he saw the bruises. The medical examiner would later count 60 to 90 bruises on Larkin’s body.

Smith blotted away years with a tissue when prosecutors showed photos of Larkin’s bruises at the time he died.

Next, prosecutors called on Carrie Landis, a family professional in charge of supervised visits.

Larkin and his brother were removed from their mother’s home just months before the 4-year-old died.

Landis testified the mother’s home wasn’t suitable for the children. She said feces was smeared on the walls, dog feces was everywhere on the floor, the children has access to knives and razors and both boys were undernourished. One of the boy’s hairs tested positive for meth.

After a brief stint in foster care, Child Protective Services placed the boys in their father’s care for a trial run. Months later, Larkin died.

Smith’s trial will continue Wednesday.

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