Murder charges dropped against Rockbridge County father after 2016 death of 4-month-old daughter

Agreed to plea guilty to felony child endangerment

By Thom Brewer - Managing Editor

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. - The Commonwealth's Attorney in Rockbridge County dropped felony murder charges against the father of infant girl who died in April 2016.

Interim prosecutor Jared Moon asked the court Thursday not to prosecute the charges against Charles Ford III.

Moon says human error in the toxicology report meant he was no longer persuaded that the actions or inactions by Ford were responsible for the death of Charlee Ford.

The baby was born prematurely and suffered from seizures. The prosecutor says Ford and the child's mother, Diana Hazelwood, were told the baby could die if she did not get antiseizure medication.

Initially, it was thought the toxicology report did not find any trace of the seizure medication in the baby.

But the prosecutor said human error led to a mistake and the infant did in fact have the medication in her system.

On Thursday, Ford agreed to plead guilty to charges of felony child endangerment. He was given a five-year sentence with two years suspended. He is already serving a 10-year sentence on unrelated firearm charges.

Hazelwood had previously reached a deal in which she would plead guilty to non-capital felony murder.

Hazelwood's agreement called for a sentence on the low end of the sentencing guidelines, which could include probation with no incarceration. She will be sentenced next month.

Copyright 2019 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.