Vincent Leroy Garbe

Vincent Leroy Garbe

Bail was set at $50,000 Friday for a Bozeman man accused of negligently causing the death of his 7-month-old child after smoking marijuana while taking care of the infant.

Vincent Leroy Garbe, 23, is charged with negligent homicide. Garbe appeared via video in Gallatin County Justice Court before Judge Bryan Adams.

According to charging documents, Child Protective Services prohibited him from being alone with the baby because of a January city court charge that accused him of drinking alcohol and falling on or with the child. The baby’s neck was fractured in the incident.

On Thursday around 10:20 a.m., Bozeman police officers responded to Saxon Way for a report of an unconscious child, according to charging documents. Officers were advised that a 7-month-old child was lying face down in a crib, not breathing and that CPR was being administered.

The baby died around 11:10 a.m. at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital, police said in charging documents.

Garbe was found sitting next to the child. Police said he appeared upset and told an officer, “I’m not supposed to be around him because I have a previous CPS thing but I’m about to get him back.”

Officers took Garbe to the Law and Justice Center to question him.

Garbe told officers about the January incident and that the baby was removed from his and his girlfriend’s custody for about a month. The child was eventually returned to the parents, but Garbe said he wasn’t allowed to be unsupervised with the baby.

He said he takes care of the child after his girlfriend leaves for work around 6 a.m. Monday to Friday. After the woman left for work Thursday, he said, he smoked marijuana inside the garage before returning to the child in the crib in the bedroom.

Garbe fell back asleep and woke up around 9:30 a.m., looked at the child in the crib and went downstairs, according to charging documents. Around 10:10 a.m., he tried waking the child up when he found the infant lying in an awkward position and not moving.

Garbe told police that he took the baby downstairs while on the phone with dispatch and began CPR until police took over.

Asked if he thought marijuana might have altered his mental state, Garbe said, “I don’t know, I don’t want to say that, I don’t want to think that but I mean it’s possible.”

On Friday, prosecutor Bradley Bowen said the incident was “gut-wrenching” and argued for a higher bail. Bowen said Garbe delayed in calling 911 when he knew the baby was in distress.

When Bowen tried bringing up a custody order with the Department of Health and Human Services, Brigitte Carneal, Garbe’s attorney, objected because the proceedings are closed. Judge Adams agreed with Carneal.

Carneal argued for a lower bail and said Garbe wanted to go to his child’s funeral.

Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.

Reporter

Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.