No Jail For Infants Death

SARAH NEWELL [email protected]
PUBLICATION: Greensboro News & Record (NC)

DATE: December 9, 2014
GREENSBORO – A man whose 3-month-old son died after he left the child in his van received probation and community service Monday in the infant’s death.
Jose Stalin Hernandez-Fichack, 32, of Whitsett pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter in Guilford County Superior Court.

Hernandez-Fichack left his son, Nicholas, known as “Nico,” in the back seat of his van on Oct. 3, 2013. The infant died from hyperthermia caused by heat exposure in the closed vehicle, according to the autopsy report.

The father was sentenced by Judge John Craig III to 24 months supervised probation and 50 hours of community service.

Nico was accidentally left in the car seat in the backseat of the van because the parents’ typical routine was interrupted, prosecutor Howard Neumann said in court. Hernandez-Fichack’s wife typically took the child to the business where the couple worked, iSolutions, at the FantaCity International Shopping Center in Greensboro.

Hernandez-Fichack took Nico with him to work that day while his wife attended a parent conference at the school of the couple’s older child, Neumann said. Hernandez-Fichack’s wife took her other child to school, ran a few errands, picked up lunch then went to work.

“She asked where Nico was,” Neumann said, “and the defendant immediately went out to the van.”

Emergency medical personnel found Nico strapped in his car seat. He had been in the vehicle from about 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Although it was October, temperatures

outside reached 80 degrees. Inside the van it reached 115 degrees, Neumann said. Nico’s core body temperature was 107 degrees. Although CPR was performed, he was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

During the hearing, Hernandez-Fichack’s eyes filled with tears. His wife, who attended the hearing, also wiped away tears.

The couple has tried to work through what happened, said defense attorney Robert O’Hale, and they have a new baby.

“I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to punish him more than he’s done to himself,” O’Hale said.

O’Hale said he has forgotten his own son at soccer practice before. Craig also told Hernandez-Fichack that he made a similar mistake.

“I’m terribly sorry for your loss,” the judge said after handing down the sentence. “I think of one instance when I forgot my son. It was only for 15 minutes. There but for the grace of God go I. Good luck to you.”

After the hearing, Hernandez-Fichack said: “I would have a life in prison if that would bring my son back.”

Contact Sarah Newell Williamson at (336) 373-7076, and follow @snewell_NR on Twitter.