Attorney: Butler County child’s overdose death a tragic accident

An attorney for a Trenton man charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of his son after toxic levels of drugs were found in the baby’s system is working toward a plea resolution in the case that he says was a tragic accident.

Dorrico Dawaun Brown, 32, of West State Street, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony child endangering for the death of his 1-year-old son, Dorrico Brown Jr., who was found dead in May.

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A toxicology report on Brown Jr. from the coroner’s office indicates the child tested positive for opiates, benzodiazepines and antihistamines at the time of his death.

Attorney Lawrence Hawkins III said Brown is distraught over the death of his son.

“This is obviously a tragic situation any time you have a young child pass away,” Hawkins said. “My client is torn up about it, the whole family is torn up about it, the mother is torn up about it. My client is reliving this every day in terms of what happened. He found him.”

Hawkins said the situation that led to the boy’s death was an accident.

“This was not an intentional act … they are alleging my client was reckless and that is the issue — whether or not he was reckless or whether or not he was conducting himself as a parent would,” the attorney said.

Hawkins said anyone who has children knows you can’t hold them 24 hours a day.

“You put kids down, kids are going to crawl around. Kids are going to get into things. Sometimes it is about making sure you have about as clean and safe environment as you possibly can. Through the best efforts of everyone, you can’t prevent all accidents,” Hawkins said.

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Hawkins told Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Howard on Wednesday morning that he was in some discussions with county prosecutors about a plea and requested another pre-trial hearing for Nov. 15.

“If there is no resolution, we will set it for trial,” Hawkins said.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said Brown’s actions were reckless.

“It is no accident when you leave illegal drugs laying around for children to come in contact with. It is a reckless act,” Gmoser said.

In a 911 call to dispatchers, Brown said, “My son is just freezing cold and I don’t think he’s even breathing. He was taking a nap and I came in here and he’s just cold.”

Hawkins said Brown performed CPR on the boy but he was never revived. The toddler did not live with Brown. He was visiting at the time of the incident.

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