Teenager accused of murdering 4-year-old charged as an adult


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A teenager accused of beating a 4-year-old to death has been charged as an adult, court officials say.

15-year-old Robert Bolsinger-Hartshorn is charged with the second-degree murder of Larkin Carter Carr. 10 On Your Side is naming Robert in this article because he was certified as an adult by Norfolk Juvenile Domestic Relations Court Judge Robert Smith III on Wednesday.

Robert was 14 years old at the time of the alleged murder. 4-year-old Larkin died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen in November 2018, and an autopsy showed that he was covered with between 80 and 90 bruises at the time of his death.

Five other charges against Robert — two strangulation, two child abuse, and one malicious wounding — were nolled prossed by the request of Norfolk Prosecutor Jill Harris. Those charges were connected to incidents that happened involving Larkin and his 3-year-old brother, Tyler, between July and November 2018.

Also charged in the case are Larkin’s father, Hank Smith, and Robert’s mother, Catherine Seals.

Smith is charged with child abuse and neglect in connection to Larkin’s death, and Seals is charged with felony homicide and child abuse and neglect.

Seals and Smith were in a relationship at the time of Larkin’s November 2018 death. Seals, Smith, Robert, and a 1-year-old girl lived together at a home on Sangamon Avenue.

Larkin and Tyler were in foster care when they also moved to the home on Sangamon Avneue to live with Smith, their father, on a trial basis.

Robert was watching Larkin at the home on Nov. 12, 2018 when the teenager called his mom and told her that the toddler was unresponsive. Emergency services arrived at the house around 7:30 p.m. and took Larkin to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters where the 4-year-old was pronounced dead.

Larkin was left home alone with Robert on the Friday before his death. The teenager later told police that during that time, he slammed a chair into Larkin’s stomach, held the little boy down, and repeatedly punched him, Harris said at a hearing earlier this year.

But Larkin’s autopsy shows that his trauma likely wasn’t limited to the Friday before he died. The report shows some older trauma that backs up Robert’s story about hitting Larkin on the Friday before he died, but other injuries were consistent with “the fatal blows being delivered on the day of death,” according to the autopsy.

The case against Robert will go before a Grand Jury in November. Smith is scheduled to appear in Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Oct. 24 for a preliminary hearing. Seals’ case is scheduled to go to trial in Norfolk Circuit Court on Nov. 13.

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