BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida father whose 9-month-old daughter died in a hot truck pleaded guilty to leaving her there, but he won't go to prison.
Steven Lillie left the courthouse a free man Thursday.
In court, Lillie pleaded guilty to leaving his daughter, Anna Marie, unattended in a motor vehicle, and was sentenced to two years of probation.
He also agreed to speak to groups, or provide public service announcements about what happened to his child if requested by the state.
Lillie drove to work on June 16, 2014, not realizing he left Anna Marie in his vehicle until it was too late.
“You've never come in here and tried to make any excuses. Clearly it was a complete, unintentional mistake. There are still consequences of every action we do,” said the judge.
Had Lillie gone to trial later this month and been found guilty of the same charge he pleaded to, he could have served six years in prison. But he also faced the possibility of being convicted of either third-degree felony murder or manslaughter.
“I think our hope is we can save some children's lives from this, because not only is the child dead, but the parent has to deal with they are responsible for the (loss of the) child's life for the rest of their life,” said assistant state attorney Bill Respes. “The goal of the prosecution from the beginning was a probation sentence, not a prison sentence.”
The judge told Lillie that after his daughter’s death and more than two years in the court system, he hoped the healing could begin. Lillie responded with “one day at a time.”
Cox Media Group