COVINGTON - A Slidell man has been found guilty of second-degree cruelty to a child after his 17-month-old daughter tested positive for cocaine during a hospital visit in 2014.
A jury deliberated for three and a half hours before finding 60-year-old Larry Bickham guilty of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile and cruelty to a juvenile.
The incident in question occurred in May 2014 when his daughter was rushed to the emergency room at Ochsner Hospital in Slidell and tested positive for cocaine.
During the trial, witnesses testified that they had smoked crack and used drugs with Bickham and the girl's mother, Kayla Gregg, on numerous occasions while the child was present.
The defense said that the incident occurred after Bickham was no longer living with Gregg and that a temporary caregiver schemed with Gregg to get full custody of the toddler.
The prosecution said the temporary caregiver came to get the child from Bickham and that she had to rush the child to the emergency room as she was showing signs of a seizure.
"At the heart of this case is a beautiful little girl, who at just 17 months of age tested positive for cocaine in her system," said St. Tammany District Attorney Warren Montgomery. "She had no say in her father's drug addiction, but the jury rightly held her father responsible for the harm his addiction caused this little girl."