Parents sentenced to prison time for 11-month-old's sleeping death
DETROIT (WJBK) - A Detroit mother and father were sentenced for the death of their son. The baby boy was sleeping with them when Dad rolled over on him.
Leticia Molton and Lorenzo Brooks both pleaded guilty to homicide involuntary manslaughter for the accidental sleeping death of their son, 11-month-olf Lorenzo Jr., last September.
"Sorry to my son. First and foremost he didn't get a chance to grow up and be a kid and enjoy life. I wish it never happened but things happen." said Lorenzo in court Tuesday.
Police say Brooks and Molton, who were homeless and staying at a friend's Detroit apartment at the time, woke up and found the baby unresponsive. The couple had been drinking that night. Lorenzo Jr. fell asleep between the couple on the floor and Lorenzo Sr. rolled on top of the baby, suffocating the child.
Lorenzo's sister, Yolanda Exum, spoke on his behalf.
"Lorenzo Brooks is my brother. He loves that baby. I was just with that baby, fed that baby. He comes to my house to spend the night with that baby. He was with that baby every day. He's good dad," she said.
What made this death even more tragic is the couple lost another baby in a similar manner back in 2014.
Coral Watt said, "She is very remorseful even though she is going to prison for this offense. She said to me on numerous occasions what she has gone through and continues to go through due to the loss of two children. It is more hurtful and more painful that any prison sentence, your honor."
In spite of a public service push by the state over the last several years trying to teach parents not to sleep with their children and always place them on their backs with no soft objects, some parents are still not getting the message.
"It is a tragic case. Our hope is that this case serves as a reminder to people that there is something to this education effort," said Wayne County's assistant prosecutor.
Lorenzo's attorney, John Holler spoke to that point.
"I think that is very thoughtful and appropriate comments," he said. "My client can speak for himself but I can't tell you how remorseful he is that he was neglectful and remorseful, and that he has been thinking every moment about a child that will never grow up."
In the end the judge stayed within the guidelines, sentencing the couple two to 15 years in prison..
The judge is hoping others may learn from this heartbreaking case.
"It is a tragic way to learn this lesson," he said.