A Connecticut father will serve no prison time for causing his 15-month-old son's death by leaving the boy in a hot car over the summer. He was sentenced on Thursday to a two-year conditional discharge.
Kyle Seitz, of Ridgefield, entered a so-called Alford plea last month, in which he didn't admit guilt but agreed the prosecution has enough evidence to convict him at trial. A guilty finding was entered on the record.
Authorities said Seitz forgot to take his son, Benjamin, to day care on July 7, 2014 and unintentionally left the child in the car for more than seven hours while he went to work at Owl Computing Technologies.
Temperatures that day hit the upper 80s and officials said Benjamin died of hyperthermia.
Seitz was charged with criminally negligent homicide and initially pleaded not guilty. Seitz, who has two other children, has been free on bail.
Before issuing the sentence, the judge said the pre-sentencing investigation, which includes character statements about the defendant, was the most positive he has read in 17 years of reading them.
He also said the family. including Kyle Seitz, has suffered.
"I cannot punish him more than this event has punished him. Nor would I choose to do so," the judge said. "Because traditional theories of punishment are not warranted in this case."
Before he was sentenced, Kyle Seitz thanked everyone who has supported his family through the tragedy and kept them in their thoughts and prayers.
His family has moved to Colorado and the sentence would allow him to relocate to be with his family.
The attorney for Benjamin's mother, Lindsay Rogers-Seitz, appeared in court, where he read part of her statement, which urged the judge not to sentence her husband to prison.
"The pain of losing Ben is visceral. It never goes away. I want to sweep his blond curls out of his face again and kiss him, hold him, but I can't. Losing him this way has taught me the greatest lesson of all that a mother and a wife can know and that's the lesson of resiliency and hope and the power of the human spirit to reach within itself and find a greater good, even it it's darkest hour. But only when focused on love, understanding and compassion can we do that," she wrote. "It is my greatest respect, your honor, that I ask you this today for compassion and leniency in sentencing my husband and the father my children by asking that you release him to his family so that we can finally be at peace and that we can grieve and heal together as a family."
Kyle Seitz was the caretaker of his children his wife was the full-time working parent at a law firm in New York and they have said they too want their father back home with them, Mrs. Seitz's attorney said in court.
Kyle Seitz could have been sentenced to up to a year, but the office of adult probation recommended conditional discharge, according to statements made in court.
The judge went through the reasons for incarcerating someone and said, in part that Kyle Seitz has been a law-abiding person and is not a threat to the public.
"Nobody should be in a position to judge you based on what has happened from that date 'til now," the judge said.
He was sentenced to one year, suspended, and to a two-year conditional discharge. The conditions are no new arrests and to seek and maintain treatment.