Stanley and Colleen Rimer wept softly as autopsy photos of their 4-year-old son were shown to a Clark County jury Tuesday.
Jason Rimer’s nude body showed massive discoloration of his skin, brought on by his death from heat stress after he was left in his mother’s Ford Excursion for at least 17 hours in June 2008.
Stanley and Colleen Rimer are charged with murder in the boy’s death. They also face charges of child abuse and neglect; they are accused of physically abusing four of their eight children and letting them live in squalor.
The autopsy photos were shown during the testimony of Clark County forensic pathologist Alane Olson, who said that according to her research, the temperature inside the vehicle Jason was in probably reached about 130 degrees. The high temperature June 8, 2008, was 90 degrees.
Jason was left in the vehicle about 2 p.m. that day after returning home from church with his mother and several siblings. Jason, who suffered from myotonic dystrophy, a genetic muscular disorder that crippled his body and mind, was unable to unlock a car door.
Stanley Rimer, who has said he was ill that day, said he left church before the rest of his family, went home to rest and was not aware the boy was in the vehicle.
Colleen Rimer told Las Vegas police that she was the only person responsible for Jason.
A tissue box was passed between the two defendants as the images appeared on a large screen in Judge Douglas Herndon’s courtroom.
Colleen Rimer covered her face during Olson’s testimony, moving her hand only to wipe away tears.
Stanley Rimer looked down.
Olson said it’s not scientifically known how long it would take a human to die in the conditions Jason faced, but she estimated it to be three to five hours.
Earlier in the day, prosecutors continued to build their case about the filthy and cluttered condition of the Rimer home through testimony from county child protective services caseworkers and former teachers.
Prosecutors have argued that the parents exhibited a pattern of neglect toward their children that was bound to lead to tragedy.
Stanley Rimer’s defense attorneys called one witness out of order because a prosecution witness was late.
Lynn Affleck testified that he didn’t think the Rimer home or the children were ever in such condition that would cause him concern. He said he visited the home numerous times since Jason’s birth in 2004 because Stanley Rimer was a church leader and was in charge of local Mormon missionaries who met at the southeast valley house.
Affleck said if conditions were so poor, he would have told his bishop in confidence. He said the Rimers’ family room and kitchen appeared somewhat cluttered, but not outrageously so. He said the living room was always clean.
Affleck also testified that Stanley Rimer told him he “paddled” his boys with a boat oar for punishment. Affleck did not consider it a cause for concern.
The two-week trial continues today.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.