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No jail time for father after son’s hot car death

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PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images

Danbury, CT — A man accused of causing the death of his 15-month-old son by leaving him in a hot car received conditional discharge during his sentencing on Thursday.

Kyle Seitz, 37, of Ridgefield, entered an Alford Plea, which means he didn’t admit guilt but agreed there’s enough evidence to convict him. A conditional discharge is where a defendant must satisfy certain court-ordered conditions instead of a prison term.

The judge said Seitz can not get arrested again and must seek treatment. Seitz will be allowed to rejoin his family in Colorado.

“I just wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you to all the people who’ve shown our family so much love and support and for keeping us in their thoughts and prayers,” Seitz said in court on Thursday.

Police said Seitz forgot to take his son, Benjamin, to daycare July 7, 2014, and unintentionally left him in the car while he went to work. The boy was in the car for more than seven hours.

It wasn’t until the end of the day, when he went to pick up the boy at daycare, did he realize the child wasn’t there but rather in the back seat of his hot car.

Temperatures that day were in the upper 80s, according to investigators. They ruled the case a homicide in August.

“A good person, a tragedy. I don’t think anyone could be helped but moved by this incredible tragedy,” said defense Attorney John Gulash.

They charged Seitz with criminally negligent homicide, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.

“As a sentencing court, I do believe Mr. Seitz endured a sufficient level of suffering,” said Judge Kevin Russo. “I cannot punish him more than this event has punished him, nor would I choose to do so.”

Russo said not only did Seitz lose his son but also has no criminal record and had to quit his job and his family moved across the country and they are all in counseling.

In addressing the court, an attorney for Seitz’s wife read a letter in which she asked for compassion and leniency in releasing him to his family so that they may finally be at peace and grieve and heal together.

Seitz has been free on bail however he must not have any new arrests for two years. The judge also said if he sentenced him to probation then Seitz would have to check in and be monitored, essentially preventing him from reuniting with his family.

The sentencing took place 2 p.m. in Danbury Superior Court.

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