Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dad with joint custody, despite history of assault, sexual abuse, convicted of 2nd-degree murder in death of 15-month-old son (Queesbury, New York)

Update to the killer dads and custody.

What this article doesn't tell you (surprise) is that dad GARY L. WAITE, despite never being married to the baby's mother and having a history of assault and sexual abuse, was still granted JOINT CUSTODY.

See our previous posts here.

Convicted child killer to be sentenced Thursday

December 11, 2013 6:45 pm • Don Lehman

QUEENSBURY -- Gary L. Waite will be sentenced Thursday to a prison term of up to 25 years to life for the murder of his toddler son.

The question Warren County Judge John Hall will answer is how long Waite will spend in prison before he is eligible for parole.

Hall could sentence Waite to 15 years to life or 25 years to life in prison for the second-degree murder count of which Waite was convicted Nov. 20 for the death of 15-month-old Jesse Smith.

Waite was found to have caused the serious head injuries that claimed the boy’s life on Feb. 15, 2012.

Waite gave police a variety of explanations for how the child was hurt, eventually settling on a version in which he said the boy fell and hit his face on a chair leg, then, when he wouldn’t stop crying, Waite tossed him on a couch only to have him bounce off and hit his head on the floor.

Medical experts who testified in the case said the child’s injuries were much more severe than could have occurred as Waite told police.

Waite was not accused of intentionally killing the boy, but was found guilty under a theory he had “depraved indifference to human life” when causing another person’s death.

He did not testify during the trial.

Waite, 30, was also convicted of second-degree manslaughter, a felony, and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child for the boy’s death, but the sentences for those charges will be required to run concurrently to the murder sentence.

The proceeding will be an emotional one, as at least one victim’s impact statement is expected from the maternal side of Smith’s family.

Waite’s lawyer, Marc Zuckerman, said he may not ask Hall for a specific sentence.

Defense lawyers typically request a sentence on behalf of their client, but Zuckerman said the defense’s goal at this stage of the case is to get an appeal filed before the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court as quickly as possible.

He has said he does not believe the evidence against Waite met the standard for depraved indifference to human life needed to support the murder charge.

Zuckerman said the case may be the one that settles the issue of what constitutes depraved indifference to human life in New York once and for all. The law regarding depraved indifference has been in flux for several years.

“We’ve been seeing different results in different cases around the state; they (appeals courts) are rewriting the law each time,” he said.

Under state sentencing laws, defendants are eligible for parole after they serve the minimum portion of their sentence. If Waite is sentenced to 25-to-life, the minimum would be 25 years, 15-to-life would mean a minimum of 15 years.

Being eligible for parole does not mean an inmate will be released as soon as they are eligible.

A parole hearing will be held, but those convicted of murder are rarely granted parole their first few times before the parole board. The board takes into account a defendant’s remorse and any admissions of guilt.

Sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday in Warren County Court.