DANBURY – Kyle Seitz, 37, the father whose young son, Benjamin, died after being left in a hot car last summer, learned his fate today.
He was sentenced to conditional discharge. That means he is a free man, if he follows the conditions set before him by the judge over the next two years.
"As a sentencing court, I do believe Mr. Seitz endured a sufficient level of suffering," Danbury Superior Court Judge Kevin Russo said.
Seitz's case reignited a discussion on hot car deaths. Court documents revealed that Seitz was supposed to drop Ben off at daycare but forgot, driving straight to work. Seitz also drove to lunch, back to work, and then to Ben's daycare before realizing that his son had never left his car seat.
"I just want to take the opportunity to thank the people who have shown our family so much love and support," Kyle Seitz told the court before hearing his sentence.
Kyle's wife and Benjamin's mother, Lindsey Rogers-Seitz, wrote a letter that was read aloud in court by her attorney. She asked the judge for leniency and compassion for her husband.
"The pain of losing Ben is visceral; it never goes away," the letter read. "Your Honor, that I ask this of you today -- for compassion and leniency in sentencing my husband. For him to be released to be with his family, so that we can finally be at peace to grieve and heal together."
You can read the full letter on Lindsey's blog, thegiftofben.com.
In March, Kyle Seitz entered a plea under the Alford doctrine. By entering that plea, Seitz did not admit guilt, but agreed that the state has enough evidence against him to get a conviction. The plea allowed him to enter into plea bargain negotiations with prosecutors.
Seitz was charged with criminally negligent homicide. The state said he caused his 15-month-old son’s death by leaving the boy in the car for hours on a hot July day.
Authorities say Seitz forgot to take his son, Benjamin, to daycare on July 7, 2014 and unintentionally left him in the car for more than seven hours while he went to work. Temperatures that day hit the upper 80s.
The medical examiner found the toddler died of hyperthermia, or extremely high body temperature.
Seitz, who has two other children, 6 and 8, has been free on bail since pleading not guilty in November. The family has since moved to Colorado, and Kyle will now join them.