Stateline Man Enters Plea In Child Neglect Case

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A Stateline man who was found watching television in his apartment next to his dead wife and unresponsive infant son has entered a plea to child neglect charges.

George Bariames, 37, told Douglas District Judge Michael Gibbons that he and his wife, Debbie, had moved to Lake Tahoe from Las Vegas to try to escape prescription drug addictions.

"We wanted to begin our new life free from addiction for our son, Nicholas," Bariames said in court Monday.

Bariames was arrested Sept. 21 after his wife was found dead on the floor and the couple's 10-month-old son was near death from dehydration.

Tests showed his 35-year-old wife died of natural causes including dehydration. Bariames was not charged in her death.

On Monday, Bariames entered a plea to child neglect in which he didn't admit guilt but acknowledged evidence against him could lead to a conviction.

He faces one to six years in prison when sentenced June 23.

Bariames pleaded innocent in January but on Monday waived the possibility of an insanity defense in the hope that he might someday be reunited with his son.

Psychological reports submitted to Gibbons indicated there was enough evidence for Bariames to meet the legal definition of insanity, his lawyer Derrick Lopez said during a motions hearing last week.

Nicholas, now 18 months old, is in the custody of his maternal grandmother.

Deputy District Attorney Dina Salvucci said doctor reports indicated there was an element of voluntary intoxication before the move to Stateline, which contributed to the child's neglected condition.

Salvucci also said Bariames was not delusional the entire week before his arrest. "Even if there were points of delusion, there also were points of lucidity," she said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)