A New Jersey father who crashed his car while fleeing police and then left his 2-year-old son to die in the wreck was convicted of third-degree murder last week, PEOPLE confirms.
On Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Baldi found Christopher D. Kuhn, 28, of Hamilton, guilty in the death of his son, Qadan Trievel, according to a statement from the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.
Kuhn started running from police after stealing speakers at a Pennsylvania Walmart. He was found guilty of a host of other charges, including homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence of controlled substances, retail theft, endangering the welfare of a child, failure to stop at a red signal, reckless driving, and failure to use safety restraints on a child.
“Everything that went on that day was not just a tragedy, as the defense portrayed it, but it was malicious,” said Deputy District Attorney Robert D. James, who prosecuted the case, according to the statement.
Kuhn will be sentenced on June 15 and faces 20 to 40 years in prison on the murder charges alone, according to the district attorneys office.
The toddler was killed when Kuhn’s SUV “blew through a red light,” struck another vehicle and rolled over while fleeing the Tullytown Walmart where he had stolen Vizio speakers selling for $228, according to the statement.
After running out of the Walmart, where an asset protection officer had tried to stop him, Kuhn put his son into the backseat of his Jeep — but failed to buckle him into his carseat, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by PEOPLE.
He then covered his license plate with a sweatshirt before speeding off and crashing into two other vehicles, flipping his car, the affidavit states.
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The child was thrown from the car and onto the highway, fatally fracturing his skull, say prosecutors.
After the crash, a witness saw Kuhn get out of the SUV and walk over to his son and “pace briefly near his son’s motionless body” before fleeing on foot, the statement says.
When officers apprehended Kuhn and asked where the child was, he stated, “back there,” referring to the crash scene, the affidavit says.
Marwin Sinno, who drove one of the vehicles struck by Kuhn, testified in court that after Kuhn’s vehicle rolled onto his, he thought he saw a doll in the road, the prosecutor’s statement says.
“I looked again and it was a child on the ground,” he said, according to the statement.
“He paced a couple of times, then he said a couple of curse words,” Sinno said. “Then he took off running.”
PEOPLE’s attempts to reach Kuhn’s attorney were unsuccessful.