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Norfolk father found guilty on all charges related to 2018 beating death of 4-year-old son

Hank Smith Jr. .png
Posted at 4:56 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 16:56:16-04

NORFOLK, Va. - A father charged after his 4-year-old son was beaten to death in a Norfolk home in November 2018 has been found guilty.

A jury returned the guilty verdict for Hank Smith Jr. after roughly four and a half hours of deliberation Friday. Smith was found guilty on each of his charges, which include felony homicide, child abuse or child neglect, child cruelty and child neglect.

Smith was charged in May 2019 in the death of 4-year-old Larkin Carr. Catherine Seals and her 15-year-old son also have charges stemming from Carr's death. Seals' son was 14 years old at the time of the murder.

Carr was pronounced dead at the hospital on November 12, 2018.

Last year, doctors at the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters described the more than 100 bruises, internal bleeding, intestinal tears and signs of starvation on Carr's 28-pound body.

Norfolk Police detectives who testified in a Feb. 2020 hearing say Smith told them Larkin was sick for three days prior to his death. Smith reportedly said his son was vomiting, having accidents, throwing up blood and unable to eat, but never mentioned any bruising to his body.

Smith's attorney told the court that Smith noticed his son was ill on a Friday, and so he gave him Pepto-Bismol, crackers, oatmeal and chicken. However, a later autopsy report revealed Larkin had nothing in his stomach.

The state said Smith never took Larkin to receive medical care.

On the Friday before Larkin died, he and his 3-year-old brother were left at home in the care of the teenage son of Smith's girlfriend before he died. Police believe that teen beat Larkin more than once that weekend, ultimately causing blunt force trauma to his abdomen.

Smith is scheduled to be formally sentenced on Jan. 14, 2022.