Grand jury charges Rounsavall with murder, perjury in son’s death
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
An Escambia County grand jury has handed up a three-count indictment against Atmore businessman Shawn Rounsavall, 52, charging that he was not only responsible for causing the February 27 death of his toddler son, but also that he lied about his financial position during his initial court appearance.
The indictment was handed up April 21, but a judge, the district attorney’s office, defense attorney Ernie White and Circuit Court Clerk John Robert Fountain each had to sign off on it before it could be served on Rounsavall.
According to the indictment’s first count, simple murder, the local businessman “did intentionally cause the death of another person [Cody Weston Rounsavall] …by leaving the victim in a vehicle unattended for approximately eight hours exposed to extreme heat.”
The second count, reckless murder, is listed as an alternative to Count One. The grand jury ruled that the defendant “did recklessly engage in conduct which manifested extreme indifference to human life and created a grave risk of death to a person other than himself and did thereby cause the death of another person (the child) by failing his parental duty by leaving (the child) in a vehicle unattended for approximately eight hours exposed to extreme heat.”
If the case goes to trial, a jury will consider between the first two counts, apparently dependent upon results of an autopsy conducted by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. The final report had not been received by late Monday, May 1.
Count Three, first-degree perjury, charges that Rounsavall, during a bond hearing at the county courthouse, “did swear falsely …that he did not in fact own his restaurant [Atmore ice cream parlor, 30 Below] and claiming he was indigent, and the said false statement was material to the proceeding in which it was made.”
The Atmore businessman was initially allowed a public defender due to financial hardship after he told District Court Judge Eric Coale he “was working for his wife and was on Medicaid.”
Alabama Secretary of State Office records show Rounsavall is president, director and incorporator for both 30 Below Ice Cream Inc. and ASR Enterprises Inc., as well as director and incorporator for KWhite Inc.
Rounsavall was arrested and charged with reckless murder after the toddler was officially pronounced dead at Atmore Community Hospital.
Rounsavall told investigators the child was “supposed to have been dropped off at a local daycare center” during the morning hours. He returned that afternoon to pick the child up but was told by daycare center staff the youngster was never dropped off that morning.
Rounsavall said he then discovered the child, reportedly strapped in a child restraint seat in the backseat of the vehicle, and rushed to the hospital, where medical staff were unable to revive him.
Simple murder and reckless murder are Class A felonies that could result, upon conviction, in a prison sentence of not less than 10 years and not more than 99 years, or life with the chance of parole, along with a fine of up to $60,000.
First-degree perjury is a Class C felony, punishable upon conviction by a prison term ranging from 366 days to 10 years. A fine of up to $15,000 could also be levied.
Rounsavall remained in the Escambia County Detention Center, under $500,000 bond, early Tuesday, May 2.