A 34-year-old Ohio man was sentenced on July 8 to three years in prison for leaving the body of his dead 20-month-old daughter in a crib for more than a month.
The body of Eric Warfel's daughter Ember decomposed by the time it was found by a cable technician in July 2015, the Daily Mail reports.
Warfel initially pleaded not guilty on grounds of insanity, but the court found him fit to stand trial.
Prior to the sentencing, Warfel told the court he didn’t report his daughter’s death because he feared the reaction of his other child.
“I didn’t want [the older daughter] to grow up fearing death or hating God,” Warfel told the court, according to the Medina County Gazette.
Erin, another of Warfel’s daughters, died in 2013. Her death was ruled a “sudden unexplained infant death.”
Friends of Warfel wrote letters to the court in support of him, arguing that he always wanted to do good for his family, but had been overwhelmed by the two deaths.
They acknowledged he made questionable decisions, including marrying and then divorcing the girl’s mother, who had addiction problems.
A psychologist who interviewed Warfel said he could not bear to think about the reaction of his older daughter if she found out, “so he left to try to come to terms with the situation, but the longer he delayed, the more immobilized he became,” the psychologist wrote, according to Daily Mail.
The psychologist added that Warfel showed signs of depression and cocaine addiction.
Michael O’Shea, Warfel’s attorney, is likely to appeal the decision.
“We believe that the way the prosecutor decided to prosecute the case is like putting a square peg in a round hole,” he said.
“We just don't believe that the facts fit the theory of law that the state of Ohio postulated,” he added.
But Common Pleas judge Christopher Collier disagreed.
He said in court that Warfel had shown “no genuine remorse” about leaving his daughter to decompose in her crib, the Medina County Gazette reported.
Warfel was convicted of one count of tampering with evidence and two counts of possession of cocaine. Tampering with evidence is a third degree felony, while both of the counts of cocaine obsession are fifth degree felonies.
The sentence was less than the five years requested by the prosecution. Warfel was given 166 days of credit for jail time already served.