October 10, 2013 at 9:45 AM
Man accused of injecting 4-year-old son with heroin pleads not guilty
A Redmond man accused of trying to kill his 4-year-old son by injecting him with heroin pleaded not guilty this morning in King County Superior Court.
Eric Lehtinen is charged with attempted first-degree murder and is being held in jail in lieu of $3 million bail.
According to prosecutors, Lehtinen, 37, injected the child on the day his divorce was supposed to be finalized. His estranged wife discovered him and the boy unconscious at their home on Sept. 24. The two were taken to different hospitals.
Court documents describe Lehtinen as a drug dealer and addict.
Charging papers say the mother had been living with the boy in San Francisco, but had returned to Seattle for a job interview and let her son stay with his father.
Lehtinen told her that he had quit using drugs, the documents said. She found him depressed, she told police, but didn’t see any reason the boy couldn’t stay with him.
His wife arrived at the locked home and when she removed a blanket from the boy found a syringe on his chest.
A search of his home turned up syringes and $12,620 in cash. If convicted, he could be sentenced to at least 15 years in prison.
Police say Lehtinen had a history of drug use and overdoses. In 2005, police had him involuntarily committed to a hospital after he cut himself with scissors and threatened to kill himself while withdrawing from heroin.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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