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Parents Face New Charges in Baby's Death From Rat Bites

September 08, 1993| From a Times Staff Writer

FULLERTON — New accusations of child endangerment were added Tuesday to the charges against a homeless couple who say they were asleep in the family station wagon when their starving pet rat killed their newborn son.

Steven and Kathyleen Giguere each face involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the Aug. 26 death of their son, Steven Giguere Jr., who was bitten more than 110 times. Each parent was charged Tuesday with two counts of felony child endangerment. Both pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jim Tanizaki said outside of court that the additional charges were filed after police determined that both the newborn and his 3-year-old sister, Karissa--who was not injured--had been endangered by their parents' actions.

Prior to Steven's death, social service workers had been warned five times about the children's safety. Child welfare officials say early investigations turned up no evidence of an immediate danger.

Defense attorneys for the couple declined to discuss the case. Defense attorney William Watson, who represents Kathyleen Giguere, said only that his client is "very remorseful."

The Gigueres face as much as eight years in prison if convicted of all the charges.

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