New Jersey dad sentenced to 10 years for killing toddler son

Man with ponytail in blue suit

David Creato appears in court during his trial Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Camden, N.J. Creato is accused of killing his 3-year-old son in October 2015. ( Joe Lamberti/Camden Courier-Post via AP, Pool)

A Camden County man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated manslaughter in the death of his son two years ago.

The 2015 discovery of 3-year-old Brendan Creato’s body in park near their home shook the community in Haddon Township, just a short drive from Center City Philadelphia.

In August, David Creato Jr. pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter, admitting to “depriving Brendan of oxygen” but stopping short of saying he murdered the boy.

“He absolutely believes that this was a plea that was just too good to turn down,” said Richard Fuschino Jr., Creato’s attorney, after sentencing in Camden Friday. “He agrees that it was his recklessness that led to this. He is accepting responsibility.”

Creato had initially faced murder charges, but the initial case against him ended in a mistrial in May.

Prosecutors claim Creato killed his son to salvage a relationship with his then 17-year-old girlfriend, who was leaving for college. He initially said the boy wandered away from home in the middle of the night.

Creato, 23, will be eligible for parole after serving eight and a half years of his sentence, and he will be credited with time served in the county jail. Once released, Creato will serve five years on parole.

In court Friday, assistant Camden County Prosecutor Christine Shah showed a 14-minute photo montage depicting Brendan as a happy young boy. A hushed courtroom looked on.

Photos on a computer screen of slain Brendan Creato, sitting on Santa's lap, etc.
Assistant Camden County Prosecutor Christine Shah showed a 14-minute photo montage of Brendan Creato, the three-year-old boy whose body was discovered on October 13, 2015. (Joe Hernandez/WHYY)

Speaking to the judge afterward, Shah reiterated that no crime is more serious than homicide.

“The tragedy of the loss of life is exponentially compounded when the victim is a child,” Shah said. “It’s incomprehensible when the parent has caused that child’s death.”

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