Rock Springs Man Weeps As He Pleads Not Guilty In Overdose Death Of Toddler Son

Daniel Scott James, 35, pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and two felony drug charges Wednesday in the death of his toddler, and wept when told he's not allowed to see his other children, ages 4 and 5.

Clair McFarland

February 08, 20232 min read

Daniel scott james 35
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A Rock Springs man accused of enabling the overdose death of his toddler son by keeping illicit drugs throughout his home pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Sweetwater County District Court.  

Daniel Scott James, 35, began weeping the moment Judge Richard Lavery read aloud the allegation of involuntary manslaughter involving the death of James’ 2-year-old son.  

He wept throughout the hearing and while pleading not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge and to two felony drug-possession charges pertaining to marijuana and Xanax.  

With the not guilty pleas in place, James may battle the charges at trial or work toward a plea agreement with the Sweetwater County Attorney’s office.  

At his arraignment, James’ attorney Ryan Weaver, also asked for a bond lower than the $100,000 amount now holding James in jail.  

Weaver said James has strong ties to the community, is a lifelong Wyoming resident and would like to get out of jail to provide financially for his family while living with his parents.  

James has two stepchildren, ages 4 and 5, according to court testimony.  

Hillary McKinney, deputy for the Sweetwater County Attorney’s office, asked the court not to lower bond. She cited a lengthy and sometimes violent criminal history in which James had attacked his girlfriend and had various drug convictions.  

Lavery chose to reduce the bond to $75,000 cash or surety and requires that James have no contact with his child’s mother or his two stepchildren, and that he consume no drugs or alcohol.  

“Stay away,” said Lavery. “Can you do that? You look at me like you can’t do that.”  

James wept again, saying he’d rather the bond be at $100,000 and he be allowed to see his children.  

“Those are my stepkids,” he said. “I raised them, I potty trained them.”  

Lavery said the bond would remain as he ordered it, with the lower amounts and the no-contact requirements.  

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter