NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The last of three defendants in the 2018 death of a 4-year-old boy in Norfolk has been sentenced to 18 years behind bars.

In 2019, Catherine Seals pleaded guilty to both charges she faced, felony homicide and felony child abuse with serious injury in the death of Larkin Carr, 4. As part of the plea agreement, Seals’ sentence could not be greater than 21 years or 6 months.

The prosecutor handling the case asked, “What is Larkin Carr’s life worth?” Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Gordon Ufkes argued for a sentence close to the maximum allowed under the plea deal.

Seals showed remorse and regret in her final statement but the judge was outraged – not so much for what Seals did, but for what she had failed to do.

Ufkes said “the grown-ups should have done something,” to keep the 4-year-old from being beaten to death.

Larkin’s father, Hank Smith, had moved in with Seals at her home on Sangamon Avenue at the time of the incident. Prosecutors say she left her then-14-year-old son Robert Bolsinger-Hartshorn home alone to watch Larkin and his younger brother Tyler.

Court documents show the child’s body had anywhere from 60 to 90 bruises. The autopsy report listed blunt force trauma to the abdomen as Larkin’s cause of death.

The teenager admitted to police that on Nov. 9, 2018, the Friday before Larkin died, he hit the 4-year-old in the stomach with a chair while their parents were out of the house.

Seals told Judge Tasha Scott she “will forever grieve the biggest loss of my life. I loved that little boy. I tucked him in at night”.

However, Seals didn’t summon medical help until it was too late. The judge said the boy’s death was “absolutely preventable, and anyone could have noticed the significant bruising”.

“This case is simply horrendous,” Scott said after reviewing the pictures of Larkin and details of his death. “The adults completely abdicated their responsibilities.”

Ufkes wanted Seals to serve between 17 and 18 years on the charges of felony homicide and child abuse and neglect with serious injury.

Seals’ defense attorney Daymen Robinson wanted less than seven years, pointing out that Seals called 911, cooperated with authorities, testified against her own fiancé and saved resources for the city and commonwealth by not going to trial.

Ultimately, Judge Scott sentenced Seals to 20 years on the felony homicide, suspending 12 years, and 10 years on the child abuse, for a total of 18 years active time.

In her last statement before the sentence, Seals said “Larkin needed for me to give him more. I let him down. I have dived deep into the pool of what-ifs.”

Bolsinger-Hartshorn was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with 10 years suspended. As part of the plea agreement, he will remain in the custody of the Norfolk Department of Juvenile Justice (NDJJ) until he is 21 years old and will be under supervised probation for 10 years after his release.

Larkin’s father, Hank Smith, was sentenced to 21 years behind bars back in late February. Smith was convicted in October 2021 of felony homicide and child abuse and neglect in connection with his son’s death.

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