Man gets 15 years for killing infant son
First Assistant District Attorney Holly Sloma said Dillon Hossbach had not yet fully accepted responsibility and had a "self-centered" attitude toward the crime
By Tim Fenster
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
ROYALTON, N.Y. — Dillon L. Hossbach has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter in the beating death of his six-month-old son William.
Before handing down the sentence, Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy listened to the baby boy's mother, Grace McPartlin, tearfully describe the agony of losing her son to a senseless crime.
"This senseless violence has taken a severe toll on me emotionally. ... There was no reason for this crime to happen. There is no justification for killing a six-month-old baby," said McPartlin, adding she only manages to pull herself together for the sake of her daughter.
McPartlin also described William, who died on Feb. 21, 2016, after Hossbach struck him six times on the head, causing bleeding and swelling in the brain.
"I wanted to tell you Liam was a very, very happy baby," she said, using a nickname for William. "Him and his sister were two peas in a pod.
"As she gets older, she will wonder why she doesn't have a dad or a brother. And I'll have to tell her she doesn't have a brother because her dad was tired," said McPartlin, holding back sobs throughout the emotional statement.
After Hossbach, 25, Royalton, pleaded guilty in late May to the manslaughter charge, Murphy asked him why he struck his baby boy.
"I hadn't had a lot of sleep the night before, and I lost my temper," Hossbach told Murphy.
First Assistant District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said the probation department's pre-sentencing report stated Hossbach had not yet fully accepted responsibility and had a "self-centered" attitude toward the crime.
Sloma also said that after William was taken by an ambulance to Medina Memorial Hospital, Hossbach remarked to a neighbor: "'whatever you do, don't have kids.'"
"Hearing that statement is indefensible. It is the character of this defendant," Sloma said.
Sloma said previously the beating occurred either late Feb. 20 or early Feb. 21 at Hossbach's residence at 8455 Rochester Road in Gasport.
Dillon Hossbach called 911 at about 11 a.m. and told dispatchers William was sick and unresponsive. Niagara County Sheriff's Office deputies performed CPR on William at the scene, and volunteer firefighters rushed him to Medina Memorial Hospital, NCSO Captain Bruce A. Elliott said previously.
A pediatric trauma team from Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo responded to Medina Memorial Hospital, but were unable to revive William.
"By then it was too late. They were unable to save the young child," Elliott said.
Upon speaking with doctors and nurses at Medina Memorial Hospital, NCSO investigators determined William had not died from any illness. The Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office, which performed the autopsy, reached the same conclusion.
After a six-month investigation, deputies arrested Dillon Hossbach in December and charged him with second-degree murder and first- and second-degree manslaughter.
McPartlin said Thursday she is still haunted by memories of first responders trying to save her infant son.
"I have memories of being in the ER. I have memories of first responders trying to save my son, wondering what was wrong because they were lied to," McPartlin said. "Every time I close my eyes I'm back in that ER.
"Every single day I'm reminded of my son, and I have to live with the fact that if I hadn't dropped him off at (Hossbach's) apartment, I would still have my son," she added.
Attorney Dominic Saraceno offered condolences to the victims and called the beating a "senseless crime," but said he disagreed with the characterization that Hossbach has no remorse.
"I personally have seen him cry on numerous occasions," Saraceno said. When told Murphy was considering a 15-year prison sentence, "(Dillon Hossbach) said, 'Regardless of whatever the sentence is, I'm going to punish myself for the rest of my life.' He realizes, how do you apologize for something like this?"
When asked if he had anything to say, Hossbach said much the same — that the crime was too horrible for words to come even close to mending.
"There's nothing I could ever say that would make any of this right. ... I don't think there's anything I could say to apologize for this," Hossbach said.
Hossbach kept his composure throughout the sentencing and spoke in a calm voice.
After hearing the statements, Murphy said he agreed with the probation department and prosecutor's assessment of Hossbach.
"Your explanation to the probation department is preposterous and arrogant," Murphy said. "You've done very little in your life to contribute to society, and with this crime you've hurt society."
In addition to the 15-year determinate sentence, Murphy sentenced Hossbach to five years of post-release supervision and ordered him to refrain from contacting McPartlin or their daughter for 23 years.
In a written statement to the news media, the family of William Hossbach thanked the first responders and medical staff who tried to save the boy's life, as well as the investigators, prosecutors, social workers and judges involved in the case. They also thanked friends, their employers and others for support during the painful period.
"Not many can handle the horror of what we have gone through, and we can't continue to heal without you," they wrote to supporters.
Copyright 2017 Lockport Union-Sun & Journal