Va. Dad Didn't Protect Son, 4, from Beating Death, Now Faces Possible 70 Years in Prison

Hank Larkin Smith will be sentenced on January 14

Larkin Carr

A father in Norfolk, Va., faces up to 70 years in prison after he was convicted of multiple charges related to the beating death of his 4-year-old son.

Last week, a jury found Hank Larkin Smith, 42, guilty of one count of felony homicide and three counts of felony child abuse and neglect.

According to The Virginian-Pilot, Larkin Carr died of blunt-force trauma to his abdomen in 2019. Prosecutors allege that Larkin was beaten by Robert "Robbie" Bolsinger-Hartshorn, the 14-year-old son of Smith's girlfriend, Catherine Seals.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Smith and Seals knew that Bolsinger-Hartshorn was abusing Larkin. Prosecutors told the jury that they did nothing about the abuse and repeatedly left the boy in the teenager's care, thus placing him in danger.

Bolsinger-Hartshorn was babysitting the boy on November 9, 2019 when he called his mother saying that Larkin was unresponsive. Paramedics were called to the home, where they found Larkin lying on a sofa. He wasn't breathing and paramedics were unable to find a pulse.

In court, prosecutors said the boy had between 60 and 90 bruises on his body -- some of them freshly inflicted, but some were from previous traumas. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

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hank smith
Norfolk Police Department

The teen's mother, Seals, pleaded guilty in 2020 to felony homicide and child abuse and neglect related to Larkin's death. According to WAVY-TV, she testified in court last week, claiming that she never saw Bolsinger-Hartshorn hit or hurt the boy. She later acknowledged that 4-year-old Larkin had told her that Bolsinger-Hartshorn had hit him.

Prosecutors did not accuse either Smith or Seals of beating Larkin, but claimed that they bear some responsibility for the boy's death because they didn't protect him from Bolsinger-Hartshorn.

Bolsinger-Hartshorn allegedly confessed to beating the boy to death. He is being held without bond and is charged as an adult with second-degree murder. His attorney did not immediately return PEOPLE's call for comment.

Hank Larkin Smith will be sentenced on January 14. He faces up to 70 years behind bars.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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