ALIQUIPPA (KDKA) – The parents of two girls who lost their lives after a dresser toppled onto them earlier this month, are facing charges.
According to the criminal complaints, David Beatty is charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
The mother, Jennifer Beatty, is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
“This case is a perfect example to use a phrase in another context; children should not be left behind,” said Beaver County District Attorney Anthony Berosh. “And that’s what happened in this case.”
“We fail to see how it rises to the level of criminal culpability,” said Dale Fouse, the defense attorney. “Quite frankly, it’s a tragic accident and these folks, our clients, are having to deal with it as best they can and you can’t imagine how they must have felt this morning when law enforcement showed up at their door.”
According to the criminal complaint, responding officers found the inside of the home to be in deplorable condition.
Officers observed, “used diapers on the floor of multiple rooms as well as human fecal matter on the floors.
There were also fly strips hanging throughout the house filled with dead flies.
David Beatty told police that he was aware the home was unsafe and that his wife “does not like to clean.”
He also revealed that their gas service in the home had been cut off several weeks prior to the incident and he saw no immediate need to resolve the issue.
“The house was in a significant state of filth,” said Aliquippa Police Det. Capt. Ryan Pudik. “There were human feces on multiple items within the room where the children were located, presumably their bedroom.”
The accident happened inside their Aliquippa home on Irwin Street on July 4.
Brooklyn Beatty, 2, died at the time of the accident and her 3-year-old sister, Ryeley, later died at Children’s Hospital.
The girls were playing in their room when a dresser toppled over.
At the time, David Beatty said he was preparing a bath for the girls, when he heard the crash. He rushed into the girls’ bedroom and found them pinned underneath the dresser.
While at Children’s Hospital, Beatty told police that he was not preparing a bath for the girls. He stated he was using the restroom when he heard the bang from the dresser toppling.
He called out to the girls and went to investigate when he did not receive a response.
However, during later questioning by police, David stated he may have remained in the bathroom for up to 30 minutes before checking on the girls.
“It’s our position that, A.) Leaving the children in that position to begin with, and, 2.) Failure to respond upon hearing some noise coming from that room resulted in the filing of involuntary manslaughter charges,” said Berosh.
The coroner found that if he had reacted immediately, when he first heard the bang, the kids could have survived.
Previously, Beaver County Coroner Teri Tatalovich-Rossi ruled both girls’ deaths as accidental because of asphyxiation due to compression of the chest.