SPARTANBURG, SC (WYFF/CNN) - Imhotep Norman walked into a courtroom full of family and full of tears on Saturday.
Norman was charged with homicide by child abuse for the death of his 1-year-old daughter, Xena, who died after a police chase in which he was involved.
“The murder homicide of a child, child abuse case, 20 years up to life is what that can carry,” the judge said.
Officials said Norman led state troopers on a chase up I-85 before his car caught fire and he ran off.
“The vehicle kept on rolling. It was going 30 mph at the time. It stopped, then rolled back onto the interstate on fire,” the prosecutor said.
Troopers say they saw Norman threw out a bag of drugs. They said he was later arrested, found in the back of another car.
Inside the burning car, troopers said Norman left behind his daughter.
“My son loved his daughter with all his heart,” Norman’s mother said, defending her son in court.
“I just know the car wasn’t on fire when I got out the car," he said. "I would have stayed in the car with my daughter.”
His grandmother doesn’t believe the car was on fire, though Norman admitted in court he saw sparks.
“If the car was on fire, he would have gone back and gotten his baby. He would have died for his baby,” she said.
His grandmother believes troopers did not follow protocol.
“Anything when you stop the vehicle, you’re supposed to secure the vehicle and make sure someone is in it. You don’t know who is in the vehicle,” she said.
The judge denied bond to Norman, after revealing he had other warrants on weapons and drug charges.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division continues to investigate the chase, crash and death of Norman’s 1-year-old daughter.