Daniel Scott Howarth, 26, was convicted of child endangerment on May 9 for the overdose death of his 4-month-old son last year in Bensalem.
He was found guilty by Common Pleas Judge Gary B. Gilman on charges of child endangerment, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Howarth was sentenced to one year less one day to two years less one day in the Bucks County Correctional Facility, followed by five years of probation. He cannot be granted parole without entering a long-term drug treatment plan, the judge ordered.
During the two-day waiver trial that began earlier in May, Gilman heard testimony from Bensalem Police officers and detectives, who responded to the 4900 block of Oak Avenue to try to save the baby. Emotional bodycam footage was played during the trial, showing police and paramedics attempting to save the baby. Additionally, photos were presented as evidence that showed a home in disarray with trash, dirty dishes and old food scattered about, and drug baggies, syringes and a tourniquet inside the bedroom where the baby slept.
“That was one of the worst things I’ve seen in my life,” Gilman said. “Looking at that house, that baby never had a chance.”
Besides Howarth, the baby’s mother and grandmother have also been charged in the case. Donna Westmoreland, the baby’s grandmother, pleaded no contest to child endangerment and was sentenced to one year of probation. Felicity Westmoreland, the baby’s mother, previously pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. She was sentenced to 11 and a half to 23 months in county jail, followed by three consecutive years of probation.
This investigation began at 12:36 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2022, when Bensalem Police were dispatched to Donna’s home on Oak Avenue on a report of an infant in cardiac arrest. The 4-month-old baby boy was found unresponsive in the living room of the home. Police and paramedics attempted life-saving measures and transported the boy to St. Mary Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy later revealed the presence of fentanyl in the child’s blood, and the cause of death was determined to be adverse effects of fentanyl.
An investigation by Bensalem Police and the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office revealed that the infant’s parents were in the home when the child died. Drug paraphernalia located in their bedroom tested positive for the presence of fentanyl and cocaine.
During closing arguments, Deputy District Attorney Sarah K. Heimbach said Howarth failed his duty as a father to protect his son. If he had removed the baby from the drug den where he and the baby’s mother slept, “this baby would not have come into contact with fentanyl,” she said.
Donna had previously been appointed the baby’s foster mother, and the Bucks County Juvenile Dependency Court issued a Shelter Care Order prohibiting Donna from leaving the infant unsupervised with Felicity and Daniel. She violated the order by leaving the baby unsupervised with his parents on Jan. 7.