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Dad Convicted in Children’s Death

March 26, 1999

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ A father was convicted of second-degree murder Thursday for letting his daughter and another baby die in a hot, unventilated car while he and a friend searched for arrowheads and mushrooms.

Ricky Crisp, 24, avoided a first-degree murder conviction in the deaths of his daughter, 16-month-old Vicky Crisp, and her cousin, 4-month-old Sidney Pippen.

Crisp huddled with family members and cried after the verdict was announced.

The jury was to return Friday to recommend a sentence. Each conviction carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. First-degree murder carries a maximum of life in prison.

Prosecutors said Crisp left the children strapped to their car seats for more than 25 hours in April of last year while he and a friend searched for arrowheads near Little Flock, in northwest Arkansas.

The girls died of heat exhaustion and dehydration after they were left in an unventilated car that reached at least 130 degrees. Prosecutors have said the pain was so severe that Vicky pulled out her hair.

Crisp’s friend, Justin Griffith, 28, pleaded guilty earlier this month to manslaughter. He has yet to be sentenced. Griffith said he and Crisp didn’t plan to look for arrowheads and mushrooms for long, but lost track of time because they had taken drugs and alcohol.

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