FARMINGTON Wiping away tears, Kamilyn Hadley pleaded guilty in connection with the death of her 5-month-old son, Daniel, who was accidentally left inside a car on a hot summer's day.
"I love my children and family," she said during an appearance here in 2nd District Court on Monday. "I wish a million times I could do it over. It was not intentional. I'll be paying for it for the rest of my life."
Hadley, 31, pleaded guilty to a class A misdemeanor charge of negligent homicide. In a plea deal worked out before she was ever charged, prosecutors agreed to not recommend any jail time. After she's off probation in 18 months, the charge can be reduced to a class B misdemeanor.
"Our office felt the loss of the baby is probably the biggest punishment that can be meted out in this case," said deputy Davis County Attorney Rick Westmoreland.
As Hadley cried, her defense attorney said she wanted to accept responsibility, which is why she pleaded guilty to the charge.
"It was a horrific, tragic mistake and there really is no explanation for this lapse," Richard Van Wagoner told the judge.
Handing down the sentence, Judge Michael Allphin ordered that she serve no jail time or pay any fine. She will undergo counseling and attend parenting classes with her husband. Addressing Hadley, the judge said she was a good mom who was doing what she was supposed to do with extra burdens.
"There was a lapse that particular day," Allphin said. "The greatest punishment you've had to endure is the loss of your child."
Allphin lashed out at the news media who covered this case, saying: "As they often do, they get things wrong." Yet his version of events did not differ much from what was provided to news outlets by police.
Layton police said Daniel Scott Hadley was left in a car on June 17 while his mother was inside a home visiting a friend. When she came out a couple of hours later, police said she discovered the unresponsive boy. Temperatures were about 89 degrees in Layton that day. Inside the car, experts have said it would have been about 120 degrees.
At about the same time, her husband called. After trying to cool Daniel down, she drove him to Davis Hospital, and he died a few days later.
The judge noted there were unusual circumstances in Hadley's life. The day before the accident, they had been removed from their Clearfield home because of a gas leak. Her husband had trouble at a new job, and her son was not placed in the usual spot in the back seat. Hadley also had been concerned about work issues and was scheduled to meet a co-worker in a network marketing business she was involved in, her attorney said.
"I'm convinced she's not a typical negligent mom," Allphin said. "This is a one-time, unfortunate accident where her lapse in judgment caused the death of a child."
Allphin appeared to question the decision to charge Hadley in the first place, noting the public criticism leveled over the case came mostly from "those who don't know what's going on." Outside of court, Van Wagoner would not criticize the Davis county attorney, referring to Troy Rawlings as a "gentleman." While he would have preferred that Hadley never had been charged, he said the result was "quite compassionate.""There is no excuse. I'm not trying to excuse anything. There may be some explanation, but there is no excuse," Van Wagoner said. "What happened here was a tragic accident."
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