PHOENIX — A Phoenix man jailed on charges of participating in his 9-year-old son’s shooting death and failing to promptly seek medical care for the boy has asked a judge to lower his bond from $1 million to $25,000.
Lawyers for 31-year-old Kansas Eric Lavarnia said in court records that their client remains in jail because he’s unable to pay his current bond, arguing that the amount was higher than necessary to ensure his attendance at future court hearings. Prosecutors opposed the request, saying a victim’s rights attorney is concerned that Lavarnia would contact his surviving children who are now under the care of another person.
The bond-reduction request was made late last month and will be the subject of a July 24 hearing before Superior Court Judge Jose Padilla.
Lavarnia and his wife, 29-year-old Wendy Lavarnia, are charged with first-degree murder, child abuse and hindering prosecution in the death their son, Landen, nearly four months ago. The couple has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The mother told police that her 2-year-old son found a gun left on a bed and accidentally shot his older brother in the head. In his bond request, Kansas Lavarnia also maintains his 2-year-old son was accidentally shot his older brother.
Investigators became suspicious of the mother when they found inconsistencies in her account and when the boy’s father showed up at the home as police were investigating the shooting with a crudely bandaged gunshot wound on his upper arm. The wound looked to have been punctured multiple times, possibly with a screwdriver, to camouflage the injury.
Authorities say the parents delayed calling 911 for medical care for their son so they could clean up evidence in their home. They said the lack of visible blood and the extent of blood residue implied that a significant amount of time had passed before the mother called 911.
Prosecutors say evidence of blood was found in the trunk of the vehicle that Kansas Lavarnia drove to his home.
Police have previously said the investigation hadn’t revealed who fired the shot that killed the boy.
Bond for Wendy Lavarnia, who remains in jail, was set at $25,000. She hasn’t requested that her bond be lowered.
The trial for the couple is scheduled for Nov. 30.