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A Brewer man charged with manslaughter in connection with the June death of his 6-week-old son was arrested Tuesday for allegedly violating his bail. Ronald Harding, 36, had been free on $3,000 cash bail.
Bail conditions included having no contact with the baby’s mother or any children under the age of 12, not possessing dangerous weapons and a curfew that bars him from being out between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless he must be gone overnight for work.
Harding allegedly violated his bail by having contact multiple times with his wife, who would be called to testify at his trial, Superior Court Justice William Anderson said Wednesday during Harding’s court appearance on the bail violation charge.
Anderson, who originally set “a modest bail under the circumstances,” said that Harding had treated his bail conditions “in a cavalier fashion.” The judge ordered that Harding be held without bail until a hearing on a motion to revoke his bail can be held on Sept. 8.
The judge warned Harding that the contact provisions in his bail bond still apply while he’s in jail.
Since Harding’s arrest in early June, two other Maine parents have been charged in the deaths of their children.
Old Town mother Hillary Goding has been charged with manslaughter in the death of her 3-year-old daughter, Hailey, and Jessica Trefethen has been charged with murder in the death of her 3-year-old son Maddox Williams in Stockton Springs.
Prosecutors have alleged in the manslaughter charge that Harding’s son, Jaden, was violently shaken, but Harding has denied harming the child. He pleaded not guilty to manslaughter earlier this month.
The medical examiner found that the baby died of bleeding in his brain from inflicted injuries consistent with violent shaking.
Harding was living with the baby’s mother on Getchell Road in Brewer when Jaden died.
The father called 911 the evening of Memorial Day, May 31, to report that his infant was unresponsive and not breathing, according to Maine State Police. The boy was taken to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in critical condition and died the next day, on June 1.
Harding and the boy’s mother told Maine State Police detectives that the family went to Newport on Memorial Day and spent the afternoon at Harding’s mother’s house. When they returned home at about 6 p.m., the mother carried the sleeping baby in his car seat into the Brewer house, the affidavit said.
The boy’s mother allegedly told detectives that she held Jaden for a few minutes before handing him to Harding once inside. The baby’s eyes were open and he was smiling and cooing at her before she went to give baths to her other children, she told investigators.
About 20 minutes later, Jaden went limp and Harding took him to the bathroom where the boy’s mother was bathing the other children, who are not related to Harding, the court document said. She took Jaden while Harding called 911.
She heard Jaden crying while she was in the bathroom with her other children but let Harding tend to the boy rather than intervene, the affidavit said. She described it as a “normal baby cry.”
If convicted, Harding faces up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $50,000 on the manslaughter charge. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 if convicted of violating bail.