'You were supposed to protect her': Clay man sentenced for 9-month-old daughter's death

Clay man sentenced for causing 9-month-old daughter's death in 2016

A man who pleaded guilty to causing the death of his young daughter in 2016 was sentenced in Onondaga County Court Monday.

Brian Wilson was sentenced to 23 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in August for the death of his daughter, 9-month-old Faith Wilson, in November 2016.

Before he was sentenced, Wilson expressed remorse for his actions while reading a statement before the court.

"I shook her so violently," Wilson admitted. He said Faith didn't deserve what happened to her and said he is filled with regret and sorrow.

"Faith, I'm so sorry," Wilson said through tears at the end of his statement.

Prosecutors claimed Wilson had little remorse at the time, saying he threw the child around like a rag doll. Both of Faith's parents then took the injured child to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester instead of a closer hospital, prosecutors said.

Wilson's attorney argued Wilson snapped and shook a child who was sick, saying he reached the end of his patience and regrets his actions.

Judge Thomas Miller concluded that the child's death was no accident, and chided Wilson for causing her death, saying there was no excuse.

"You were supposed to help her. You were supposed to protect her. You were supposed to provide for her. You were supposed to, for the first time in your life, put somebody else's interests ahead of your own," Judge Miller said. "You failed miserably and tragically."

Judge Miller's sentencing decision of 23 years was just shy of the 25 years prosecutors had sought.

Faith's mother Stephanie Heppler was also charged and pleaded guilty to Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Investigators said she knew the child was hurt, but waited at least a day before seeking help. Her mother now has custody of the couple's other child.

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