A Redmond man, described in court documents as both an addict and drug dealer, is accused of trying to kill his 4-year-son with heroin on the day his divorce was supposed to be finalized.
The man's soon-to-be ex-wife found Eric Emil Lehtinen, 37, and their son on a bed in a locked Redmond house on Tuesday. They were unconscious.
The woman removed a blanket from the little boy to find a syringe apparently filled with drugs on his chest, court documents say. Firefighters arrived and despite their efforts neither the father nor child was responsiive. The boy was taken to Seattle Children's and his father to a local hospital,
Lehtinen is out of the hospital and in jail. He has been charged with attempted murder in the first degree. Prosecutors successfully argued that his bail be set at $3 million.
They described him as a "man who is willing to inject his 4-year-old son with heroin in an attempt to kill the boy and a "dangerous man willing to do anything."
The little boy is at Seattle Children's. It's unknown whether he will suffer long-term damage from the overdose.
Medical staff at the hospital found puncture wounds on his neck and buttocks, indicating needle sticks, court documents say. The hospital found evidence of not only heroin in his blood but also ketamine, morphine, codeine and other drugs.
Just 10 days before the little boy was rushed to the hospital, he and his mother were living in San Francisco. She and Lehtinen had been married six years.
Her husband, she told police, had used heroin and ketamine.
She had filed for divorce. And, in fact, the divorce was supposed to be finalized on Tuesday. Court documents say Lehtinen wanted to delay the finalization of the divorce.
She had returned to the Seattle area for a job interview. She let her son stay with Lehtinen, though she had wanted the final child-custody order in the divorce to require drug tests.
Lehtinen told her that he had quit using drugs. She found him depressed, she told police, but didn't see any reason the boy couldn't stay with him.
Police say in court documents that Lehtinen had a history of drugs 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.
A search of Lehtinen's Redmond home turned up seven syringes containing what police believe are drugs as well as three used syringes in bedroom.
A search also turned up $12,620 in cash in the home.
If convicted of the charge, Lehtinen could be sentenced to at least 15 years in prison.
Scott Sunde and Levi Pulkkinen
KOMO-4 News (Seattle)
September 18, 2013
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