Step grandfather sentenced in Pinoy toddler's death
MARTINEZ, California – After four years of litigation, a Concord, California man whose pit bulls fatally mauled his two-year-old Filipino step-grandson was sentenced to a year in county jail and three years of probation.
But 55-year-old Steven Hayashi was allowed by Judge John Kennedy to stay out on bail, pending the appeal of his conviction.
He was accompanied by his Filipino wife, Leticia.
During the hearing, Hayashi was allowed to speak by the judge and he expressed that he is remorseful and would have done anything to save the toddler.
In 2010, two-year-old boy Jacob Bisbee, reportedly wandered into Hayashi’s garage and was mauled to death by Hayashi’s pit bulls.
Leticia’s son, Michael Bisbee and his two boys, Jacob and Jeremy, were living with the Hayashis at the time of Jacob’s death.
Jacob’s father had reportedly left for work early morning and Hayashi also left the house for a few hours leaving the two young boys home with his wife, who was asleep.
Hayashi was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in April and District Attorney Mary Knox urged Judge Kennedy to hand down the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
While respectful of the court’s decision, Knox expressed her disappointment over the sentence.
“I don’t think justice ever could have been served in this,” said Knox. “It was entirely an avoidable tragedy. A two-year-old is dead. So quite frankly, no sentence, no punishment brings justice.”
During the sentencing hearing, a few friends and relatives spoke in defense of Hayashi, urging the judge for a lenient sentence because they believe Hayashi suffered enough.
Hayashi’s attorney David Cohen said, ”I just think this is one of those things where there isn’t going to be a satisfactory solution but as I was arguing in court this family needs to heal and it doesn’t help this terrible situation to prolong the matter and for Steven Hayashi to spend time in state prison.”
Fil-Am Peter Purificacion, a friend of the Hayashi family, said the family can finally begin healing.
“For now, it’s about [time for] us to mourn, first of all. We need to get together and talk about the next plan,” said Purificacion. “Secondly, we need to think about how to clear his name.”
Despite being relieved, Hayashi said Jacob’s death will haunt him for the rest of his life.
“It will never really end for me,” said Hayashi. “The death of Jacob. He was only two years old. That’s something you never get over.”
Read more from Balitang America