Father Faces Manslaughter Charges - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/10/06-Tyler

Father Faces Manslaughter Charges

Autopsy results are pending for a 4 month old girl, found dead inside her father's pickup truck. Authorities say 4 month old Kerrigan Petty was left inside the truck in Lindale for more than 8 hours on Tuesday.   Her father, Reserve Lindale Police Officer Kevin Petty, voluntarily surrendered to authorities yesterday and is now charged with manslaughter in Kerrigan's death.  

Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham explains about how that charge arrived.

"After law enforcement investigated this case there was not evidence that his intentions were intentional but in fact his actions were reckless," says Bingham.

District Attorney Bingham says manslaughter was the appropriate charge for Kevin Petty. 

"There is a lesser standard called criminal negligence homicide it is a state jail felony. I believed and the sheriff's department and I believe that this was a crime that was reckless and that's how the manslaughter charge was arrived at," says Bingham.

If Petty is convicted,  he could face up to 20 years in prison.

"If an individual charged with manslaughter has never been convicted of a felony which of course he has not then obviously you can have anything from 2 year probation to all the way up to 20 years in the penitentiary," says Bingham.

Binghams contends the case against Petty is not being handled any different just because he is in law enforcement.

"The fact that someone is a police officer is not mean they should be given less treatment or should be treated any more harsher," says Bingham.

Funeral arrangements have been set for Kerrigan Petty.  A visitation will be Friday tomorrow night from 6 to 8 o'clock at the Caudle-Rutledge Funeral home in Lindale. The memorial service will be Saturday at 2 at Lindale's First Baptist Church.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com

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