Brookville man sentenced in toddler's death in Saltsburg
A Jefferson County man was sentenced to prison on Monday since pleading no contest to involuntary manslaughter for the death of an Indiana County toddler on March 5, 2012.
Shawn D. Anderson-Holmes, 28, of Brookville showed no emotion as Indiana County President Judge William Martin sentenced him to 27 months to 10 years in prison for the death of Colby T. Josefczyk, 17 months.
The boy was on a weekend visit with his mother, Kayla M. Lyons, 25, of 35 Sally Lane, Saltsburg, when he was found unresponsive and taken to Excela Health Latrobe Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Anderson-Holmes admitted in an interview that he put his hand over the boy's mouth “for a period of time” to stop Colby from crying, according to reports by state police in Indiana.
“You have failed to take any responsibility and have shown little or no remorse for this boy's death. A young child lost his life at your hands,” Martin said as he gave Anderson-Holmes the maximum sentence under terms of a plea bargain.
The victim's father, Jonathan Josefczyk of Murrysville, who had primary custody, said he was not satisfied with the sentence.
“I'll never get to walk with my son again, yet (Anderson-Holmes) was able to walk out of this courtroom this morning. And he'll be able to walk out of prison in 27 months to 10 years. ... I don't think that's fair,” Josefczyk said.
Before Anderson-Holmes was sentenced, Josefczyk told Martin how much his family misses Colby.
“I would like to see justice served here. I can't put into words how much this has hurt me and my family,” Josefczyk said.
Josefczyk told Martin he agreed to the plea bargain agreement.
State police said bruises on the toddler showed he had been slammed against a wall and furniture.
Lyons will be sentenced on March 8 before Judge Thomas Bianco. She has pleaded guilty to charges of endangering the welfare of a child.
Martin told Anderson-Holmes' that his previous criminal record for possession of a controlled substance, two convictions for unauthorized use of a vehicle and forgery indicate “you are a poor candidate for rehabilitation.”
“A lesser sentence would be inappropriate. This child was looking to you for safety and protection, and you failed,” Martin said.
District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said he was pleased that the maximum sentence was imposed.
“From the very beginning, this was a very difficult case — whether it was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or criminal — because of the lack of evidence. We had to send the information to the (state) Attorney General's Medical Review Board, which came back with an opinion that the child had been smothered, and police subsequently were able to go back to (Anderson-Holmes) and got an admission,” Dougherty said.
Although Anderson-Holmes recently decided to not enter a guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter in favor of the no contest plea, Dougherty said he did not withdraw the plea bargain because it carried the same prison sentence.
He noted the Josefczyk family agreed to the plea agreement.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.