(WKTV) - The Utica father who reported his 9-month-old son missing, criticized police for not searching hard enough, told the media he loved and missed the baby then ultimately admitted throwing the child's body into the Mohawk River was quiet Thursday in Oneida County Court at his sentencing for manslaughter.
Jevon Wameling in June had told Utica police his son vanished from the front porch of their Jay Street apartment. Police undertook several costly, extensive searches for the child throughout the summer. In September, police questioned Wameling regarding unrelated charges. The next day, they were pulling baby Levon's body out of the Mohawk River, where it lay in a travel-type bag, weighed down by rocks.
But because Wameling told investigators where the child's body was after he'd asked for an attorney and they continued questioning him, everything he said from that point on would have been inadmissible in a criminal trial. In addition to that legal hurdle, Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara said that there was never any evidence that Wameling actually killed his son, and that his office had no reason to believe Wameling's assertion that the child fell from a sofa, hit his head and later died was inaccurate.
At Wameling's manslaughter sentencing Thursday, baby Levon Wameling's mother, Amy Warney, expressed nagging doubts about what happened to her son.
"Being that I am Levon's mother, I believe you owe me something, and that is the truth of what really happened to Levon. If it was an accident, then why did you put Levon in the Mohawk River instead of calling out for help?" asked Warney.
When given the chance to speak by sentencing Judge Barry M. Donalty, Wameling simply said, "no." His attorney spoke for him.
"Jevon understands that his decision to dispose of his son's body is inexcusable. He will have to live with the consequences of his decisions, his actions and inactions for the rest of his life," said Defense Attorney Rebecca Wittman.
From the prosecution: agreement and bewilderment.
"I don't disagree with Miss Wittman when she says that you know at least Jevon Wameling essentially stepped up to the plate and took a plea. We do, at the prosecutors office, we do appreciate that, but I can't get over the fact that he threw his child in the Mohawk River," said Prosecutor Laurie Lisi.
Wameling received the agreed-upon sentence of seven and a half to 15 years in prison in exchange for his plea to manslaughter in the death of his son. He received lighter sentences on unrelated burglary and conspiracy charges. Those sentences will be absorbed into the manslaughter sentence.
"I hate you," baby Warney said to Wameling as he walked out of court.