MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A man whose four-year-old son was mauled to death at his rented south Miami-Dade home has taken a plea deal from prosecutors.
Javon Dade, Sr. raised his hand and pled guilty to manslaughter Monday in the death of his son, Javon Junior, a four-year-old.
The boy was attacked by his father’s illegal pit bull, and pit bull mixes.
Originally, the state wanted Javon Dade to serve five years in the manslaughter case.
Dade and his girlfriend, Alessandra Carrasco, at the time of the incident had spent most of the night smoking cocaine-laced marijuana, and when they woke up Javon Junior was gone. Police found him in the yard where the dogs had left him. The little boy’s mom, Doreen Reyes, wept Monday as her ex-husband apologized for his fatal lapse.
Carrasco was charged with child neglect.
“I never meant for this to happen. I could never imagine this happening,” Dade said as he apologized to the boy’s family, sobbing. “I take full responsibility for my actions.”
Dade’s defense attorney, Adam Goodman, also choked up as he addressed the court, apologizing to Judge Rodney Smith and taking several moments to compose himself.
Dade’s brother told the court that Dade was a good, loving father, and that Javon Junior’s death was a terrible accident.
Dade took a plea deal that will see him serve four years in prison followed by six years probation. He also will cooperate in the prosecution of his girlfriend who is charged in Javon Junior’s death. He opted for the deal rather than roll the dice on a possible 30 years if convicted at trial.
“He decided at the end of the day it was better to give closure to the family and give closure to himself,” defense attorney Goodman said.
Prosecutors and the dead boy’s relatives reluctantly agreed to the plea deal, rather than risk a jury that might conclude “accidents happen.”
“There is no equity when the victim is a four-year-old, mauled in horrible circumstances by a pack of dogs,” said Assistant State Attorney Santiago Aroca.
Javon Junior’s mother left without speaking to reporters about the plea deal, or the child she lost. Dade covered his face as he brushed by the media. He must surrender to go to prison in two weeks.
In the end, the state offered a sentence of four years in prison, followed by six years of probation. Dade will also have to apologize in open court and testify against his girlfriend who was with in the home when the boy died.
According to Dade’s arrest report, he picked up the boy from his mother’s residence around 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 12th, and then went home. After Javon Jr. fell asleep in a bedroom, Dade and Carrasco “began smoking several marijuana cigarettes laced with cocaine,” according to the report. They then fell asleep.
The following morning Dade and Carrasco woke up about 9 a.m. and Javon Jr. was nowhere to be found. Police received a missing person call more than an hour later, and quickly found the child dead in the tall grass of the rented home’s sprawling back yard.
Police said while the front door to the home was locked, the rear sliding glass door was closed but unlocked.
At the time, Dade had six dogs; a pit bull, two pit bull mixes and three puppies.
According to the Department of Children and Families, Javon Dade Jr.’s parents had a history with the agency.
In 2011, the agency had received a complaint back in 2011 from a neighbor when Javon, who was 6-months-old, was living with his mother, dad and siblings at the Malibou Bay Apartments. The caller expressed concern about the “smell,” the “feces,” and the “danger” of the dogs being in the home. The DCF report discusses an incident in the prior year when both the mother and father were bitten while breaking up a fight among the dogs.
“Two of the dogs are pit bulldogs,” the DCF report added. If the DCF investigator knew that it is illegal to keep pit bulls in Miami-Dade County, there is no mention of it, and no indication that animal services was informed of the situation.
The DCF probe concluded that Javon and his siblings were in a “moderate to high” risk environment, yet no action was taken to remove the children or the dogs. DCF investigators spoke with teachers, daycare workers and a doctor who said the children appeared healthy and well dressed.
In another of several hotline reports to DCF about Javon’s family, a caller said the boy’s father, Javon Dade, Sr., was seen “selling cocaine” out of the front door of the home. The caller said the father brandished a handgun as he argued with his alleged drug customers. DCF’s report noted the father’s extensive history of arrest, primarily for drug offenses. Javon Dade, Sr. has been charged at least a dozen times in his adult history, primarily with drug violations involving cocaine and marijuana. Among his seven convictions are also one for battery and one for resisting arrest.