A Minneapolis man with a blood-alcohol concentration four times the legal limit to drive fell asleep and rolled onto and killed his infant son last year, according to charges.
Gabriel T. Farnsworth, 36, was charged Monday in Hennepin County District Court with two counts of second-degree manslaughter in the death of his eight-week-old son on Oct. 30, 2018. Farnsworth's wife was out of town at the time, leaving him as the sole caregiver for their baby.
"While he appeared distraught, he also appeared to police to be intoxicated," the charges said. "Defendant was slurring his words and was unsteady on his feet." Police tried to give him a preliminary breath test, the charges said, but he "was unable to follow directions to provide a suitable sample."
Authorities later found six 16-ounce empty beer cans "strewn in different rooms" of the house and a nearly empty 750-milliliter bottle of whiskey in a closet, the charges said.
According to the complaint: Farnsworth called 911 about 6:04 a.m. to report that his son was not breathing at their home in the 4100 block of 31st Avenue South.
"It's dead," Farnsworth allegedly told police when he greeted them at the door and handed them the child.
Police and emergency personnel at the scene were unable to revive the baby or detect a pulse. He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), where he was pronounced dead.
Farnsworth told police at the scene that he put the baby in bed with him about 4 a.m. and woke up around 6 a.m. to find him not breathing.
Police were transporting Farnsworth downtown when he passed out in the squad car and could not be awakened, according to the charges. Police took him to HCMC to be treated for acute intoxication. A blood sample taken three hours after the 911 call showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.32.
According to the charges, Farnsworth told police later that afternoon that he placed the baby in bed with him to get the child to fall asleep easier. He also admitted drinking a few beers the previous day, but denied drinking or possessing any hard liquor. Receipts confirmed that a bottle of whiskey was sold to Farnsworth the previous day at 9:41 p.m., according to the complaint.
Farnsworth's wife flew home after hearing of the death and told police that she last spoke with him at 1 a.m. and could not reach him afterward. She summoned a neighbor who was able to wake him up at 5:45 a.m.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office could not determine the infant's cause of death, but found that unsafe sleep was a contributing factor and that there were several signs of asphyxiation. Natural causes and other factors were ruled out as causes of his death.
Farnsworth pleaded guilty in 2017 and 2018 to driving while intoxicated in two separate cases. In one instance, he drove his car into a grassy area and struck a tree, snapping it in two.