CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — The Camden County father who pleaded guilty in the death of his 3-year-old son has been sentenced.
David Creato Jr. was sentenced to 10 years behind bars after admitting to playing a role in his son Brendan’s death. The sentence includes 627 days time served.
“This case had a tremendous impact on the community,” said Camden County Assistant Prosecutor Christine Shah.
Creato’s first trial in May ended in a mistrial when the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.
In October 2015, Creato made a false missing child report that Brendan was missing in Haddon Township.
The boy’s pajama-clad body was found partially submerged in a creek near the Cooper River. While the banks of the creek and the path leading to it were muddy, Brendan’s socks were clean, making clear that the boy hadn’t wandered off, but his body was placed there.
However, three medical examiners couldn’t determine a cause of death.
During the trial, in which Creato never took the stand, prosecutors made the case he killed his son because his younger girlfriend didn’t like that he had a child from a previous relationship.
He pleaded guilty to a single count of manslaughter, avoiding a possible murder conviction. That plea came just weeks before his second trial was set to begin.
Asked if he’d like to say anything in court on Friday, Creato simply replied, “No.”
After court Creato’s family and attorney made it clear the plea was more about math than remorse.
“Which would you rather spend 10 years in jail or 30,” said Florence Dreato, DJ’s grandmother.
“It is very specific what he pleaded to was recklessly causing his son’s death,” said Richard Fuschino, Creato’s attorney. “He absolutely believes this is a plea that is just too good to turn down.”
Walking with Brendan’s mother Samantha, Prosecutor Shah wouldn’t stop to explain the plea deal many in the community say is too lenient.
Creato’s father says his family still believes DJ is innocent.
“I want to know answers and the wrong person is sitting in jail,” he said.