Father accused in baby’s death seeks drug treatment

  • Appearing via a live video feed, Bradford Ross is arraigned in Concord’s district court Wednesday, May 17, 2017. Ross and Kayla Austin each face felony charges of negligent homicide, manslaughter and prohibited conduct in connection with the death of their infant son in Penacook in August 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • Kayla Austin and Bradford Ross

Monitor staff
Friday, December 15, 2017

A father accused in the death of his 2-month-old son in Penacook is asking a judge for the chance to participate in an intensive outpatient drug treatment program.

Bradford Ross, 25, is being held at the Merrimack County jail in Boscawen for lack of $50,000 with the condition that bail revert to personal recognizance upon his entry into a residential drug and alcohol treatment program. However, his attorney is arguing that Ross is not eligible for residential-level care based on in-take interviews done at the Phoenix House and Farnum Center.

“The current bail condition that Mr. Ross enter into an in-patient substance use disorder program is an impossible condition for Mr. Ross to meet and therefore he will be held despite the recognition that treatment is an appropriate bail condition that will provide safety to Mr. Ross and the community at large,” public defender Tracy Scavarelli wrote in her bail motion.

She continued, “Mr. Ross is amendable to any additional bail conditions this court deems appropriate.”

Assistant Merrimack County Attorney David Rotman has objected to the defense’s bail modification request “given the danger that the defendant poses to the community.”

Scavarelli and Rotman appeared Thursday morning in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord for a bail hearing. But after a brief bench conference, the hearing was postponed until Jan. 3.

Ross is charged with manslaughter and negligent homicide in the death of his son, Cayden Ross. He also faces two counts each of possession of a controlled drug and endangering the welfare of a child, in addition to one count each of possession with intent to distribute and prohibited conduct.

The state medical examiner determined that Cayden died Aug. 1, 2016, of methamphetamine intoxication. Toxicology results revealed methamphetamine in the infant’s blood and liver.

Authorities allege drugs were in the travel camper where Ross lived with Cayden’s mother, Kayla Austin. The camper was on property owned by Austin’s grandfather at 54 Penacook St., and it’s where the couple had lived for about two weeks prior to the infant’s death. Austin is facing the same criminal charges as Ross and the case against her is still pending.

Following his arrest in August 2016, Ross completed a 28-day inpatient program at the Farnum Center. He later received outpatient services through ROAD to a Better Life, but was discharged after a month after his insurance would no longer cover treatment costs because of his “steady progress,” Scavarelli noted.

After he was discharged, Ross relapsed and his bail was revoked on May 10. He has been incarcerated ever since.

The case is tentatively scheduled for a five-day trial, beginning with jury selection March 6; however, both sides could reach a plea agreement prior to that date.