No Charges In Onslow County Baby Death

The Onslow County district attorney says there will be no charges brought against the parents of a baby who drowned in a bathtub earlier this month.

D.A. Dewey Hudson made that announcement at a noon news conference with Sheriff Ed Brown.

Three weeks ago deputies say seven-month-old Madison Burt died after being left in a bathtub with her two year old sister. The baby's parents told deputies they were drinking alcohol and watching a movie with friends.

Hudson says Paul Burt, a Marine stationed at New River, placed his two daughters in the bathtub and left them unattended twice.

The first time, the D.A. says Burt went to the door to get some food from his wife and in the second occurrence Hudson says the father went to the living room, where he sipped a drink and talked to his friends for about a minute.

The father admitted to deputies he had consumed some alcoholic beverages, but Hudson says there is no evidence he was impaired when law enforcement arrived.

Hudson says he's reviewed state law and in order to prove involuntary manslaughter the state must prove two things beyond a resonable doubt.

Those include that the defendant acted unlawfully or in a criminally negligent way. Hudson says that is more than just carelessness. He said they also must prove gross recklessness or carelessness.

The district attorney says by all indications, the family loved their daughter and is now devastated by her death.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Dwayne Location: Greenville on Feb 23, 2009 at 10:52 AM
    Kudos to the DA. This family has suffered enough. Those of you who believe in partial birth abortion and abortion and believe this man should be punished, you are hypocrits. Do you keep your eyes on your children 24/7?
  • by Someone who cares on Feb 22, 2009 at 09:39 AM
    Think about this, people. Read "Believer's" post, Location: "Heaven Bound". We all can admit that something horrible happened here and the parents have obviously done something horribly wrong. But, do you honestly think they meant to? And what could be a better punishment than not being able to see your child again, knowing that it was your fault? That is the worst punishment anyone could receive. The intelligence level of the parents has nothing to do with simply not thinking. What he did was stupid, but that does not mean he himself is stupid. They will have to live with how stupidly they acted FOREVER. I think that's a pretty good way to learn a lesson and I doubt they will ever even think about being negligent again. They should know that they have done something wrong and that they are being held accountable for it. They/he should be charged with negligence and have to take parenting classes, but nothing more. Think about how you would feel. Would you have learned your lesson?
  • by Sincere Knowledge Location: Jacksonville, NC on Feb 22, 2009 at 06:47 AM
    I think this case is absurd. I feel the parents were neglegent in their actions and should be punished. I do feel that the parents may be sympathetic to the fact that their careless action caused the death of the child, but they are still wrong. This case is no different then a parent leaving their child unattended in a swimming pool. In which the parent of the unattended child would be frowned upon for being careless. leaving a child unattened for any length of time is never a SMART decision. I myself whom have lost a child no how important it is to protect a child at all cost. I do feel sorry for the parents but I feel that they should better judgement in the future.
  • by Suzanne Location: Jacksonville on Feb 21, 2009 at 09:26 PM
    A 7 month old baby can barely sit up on its own, much less get back up in a slippery tub with water if it falls over. 2 minutes or 8 minutes, it doesn't matter. This baby should never have been walked away from in the first place, and what moron has four or five mixed drinks and then sets in to bath and infant and a toddler? If ever there is a legal system in this state that needs completely overhauled, it is Onslow County.
  • by Terri Location: New Bern on Feb 21, 2009 at 10:32 AM
    Great job Dewey! I can't believe that it's ok to put your baby in the bathtub, hang out and drink with your friends and when the baby drowns, not be held accountable. Oh well ya can't fix stupid
  • by Wilma Location: who cares on Feb 21, 2009 at 09:32 AM
    Would someone please explain to me how our law system/court system would NOT charge the parents of this poor infant that died? Could someone also tell me how hearing a story like this would NOT CHANGE our already negative feeling of our legal system? This is absolute crap. The parents told authorities they were drinking alcohol and watching a movie with friends. They were NOT doing what they should have been doing, and that was to protect their children. This is just totally messed up.
  • by Lynne Location: Ayden on Feb 21, 2009 at 06:43 AM
    Unbelieved, I am not blaming the two year old. I am saying that it is another aspect of the story that seems to be over-looked. As I said, a toddler can not be trusted to play safely with a baby on dry land much less in a bathtub. The toddler is not to blame in any case. It is the PARENT(s) who should be blamed. HE made the choice to pay more attention to a guest than his children. Actually, I am thankful that he didn't come back to two dead children.
  • by Carrie Location: Jacksonville on Feb 21, 2009 at 05:43 AM
    No matter how heinous the crime, there are always those who want to defend them and pray for them. But to say that it "serves no purpose" to bring charges against them is ludicrous! Yes, I'm sure they're suffering, but that's not the same as being held ACCOUNTABLE. Feeling sorry for them and treating them like victims of a tragic "accident" only reinforces the idea that this was something that HAPPENED TO THEM, instead of something THEY CAUSED. At the very least they should have been charged with neglect or child endangerment, given probation, and ordered to take parenting classes. And for those who say they'll never leave a child in a bathtub again, to have done it once shows their judgement is pretty flawed, so what reason is there to believe they will use good judgement in situations they encounter in the future?
  • by David Location: Pinetown on Feb 21, 2009 at 02:26 AM
    I'm sorry for this family to, But they should be held accountable for their stupidity just like drunk drivers.To leave a small child un-attended in a tub is no different than not putting him/her in a child seat and driving drunk and killing the child. This is another prime example of how alchol kills.
  • by unbelieved Location: greenville on Feb 20, 2009 at 07:35 PM
    They do have to live the rest of their lives with the guilt of being irresponsible and killling their child. It was more important for them to drink a beer with friends than watch their children. Shame on you DA. How can you not see the can of worms you are opening by giving this lame excuse. That is exactly what you gave. It does not matter if they are marines or a civilians. They are parents first and for most. They were negligent. They made a bad decision. If I made a bad decision and got in my car drunk and drove and killed someone I just "lost my train of thought"(quoting DA)so I should not be held accountable. And to Lynn from Ayden, you sound like you are blaming the 2 yr old. Since the kids were left ALONE there is no way for anyone to really know what happened. You really think that the parents told the police we were chilling drinking beer. No they smelled it! So why would they tell the truth about 8 mins. Really who puts in a movie and only watches it for 8 mins. Pleas!
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