A military judge sentenced a Fort Carson soldier to 10 years in prison Monday for the killing of a 2-year-old on the post last fall.
The sentence came the same day that Pfc. Jason A. Price, a soldier with Fort Carson's Warrior Transition Unit, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Kevin Rosa Perez, his nephew, who died Nov. 11, 2011, of blunt-force trauma to the head.
Price was originally charged with second degree murder and faced up to life in prison. A plea deal reduced his maximum prison time to 15 years.
Price's civilian attorney, James Culp, said his client will likely be paroled before the end of his decade-long sentence. Though Price and Culp had hoped for a lighter sentence, they weren't surprised.
"The defense counsel always wants a sentence less than he receives, but it was clearly a fair sentence under the facts and circumstances of this case," Culp said.
In court on Monday Price said he attempted to throw Kevin on a mattress on Oct. 31, 2011, but that Kevin's head hit an open drawer of a nearby dresser.
Price said his wife had left him alone with the couple's three kids and two nephews and that he was attempting to get the kids to bed after an evening of trick-or-treating.
Price noticed a bump on Kevin's head and told his wife, when she returned, that Kevin had fallen, he said.
"I wasn't ready to tell her" what had actually happened, Price said while sobbing.
Though Kevin began throwing up the next day, Price said he did not seek medical attention for Kevin because he thought the toddler had come down with the flu, which his kids had the week before.
Five days later Price said he left Kevin, still sick, and the four other children home alone while he went to Game Stop.
When he returned, he found Kevin unresponsive, Price said.
The Prices called 911, and Kevin was taken to the hospital.
Kevin's mother, Ana Rosa-Duenas, decided to terminate life support on Nov. 11, 2011, at the advice of a doctor, she said.
"It's been too much," Rosa-Duenas said. "My heart has been broken He didn't only kill Kevin. He also left me dead."
During questioning from the judge, Price and his attorney said that the incident did not meet the legal definition of an accident and that Price wasn't trying to discipline Kevin.
"I was just frustrated at the situation," Price said.
During the sentencing hearing a Warrior Transition Unit nurse testified that Price, who has never deployed, suffers from a mood disorder and anxiety, and takes 11 medications.
Capt. John Stewart, an Army prosecutor, told the court that Kevin died "because his uncle is unable to deal with even the most miniscule stresses."
Their closing presentation included pictures of an unconscious Kevin lying in a hospital bed and a deceased Kevin with a teddy bear and a rosary wrapped around his left hand.
"What I did was wrong, and now I have to take the punishment for it," Price told the court.
After the completion of his sentence, Price will be dishonorably discharged from the Army.
|Crime in the Military Military Justice|