3 plead not guilty to child neglect after 5-year old’s death

April 9, 2022 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Three Bismarck adults have pleaded not guilty to felony child endangerment-related charges in the February death of a 5-year-old boy whose body was found with multiple injuries.

Russell James, 36, entered his plea in court Friday after Serenity Foots, 19, did so earlier in the week. Rolanda Doyle, 40, waived her right to a preliminary hearing Thursday and pleaded not guilty, court records show. All three have trials scheduled for Aug. 2.

The Bismarck Tribune reports police responded to a call at a southeast Bismarck residence on Feb. 18 after the 5-year-old, Geremy Doyle -- Rolanda Doyle’s nephew -- was discovered to be unconscious and not breathing. The boy was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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Police Detective Jacob Bratsch in court on Friday described numerous wounds on the child’s body, including blackened toes with signs of frostbite and gangrene. He cited the state medical examiner, who said the child’s toes would have required amputation had he survived.

Bratsch testified the child “was made to sleep in essentially an entryway of this residence that was unheated in the middle of winter.”