A Colorado dad who said he didn’t think he was “man enough” to raise his toddler son was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for trying to kill the boy by crashing his car with the child inside, PEOPLE confirms.
Nathan Weitzel, 31, of Centennial, pleaded guilty Feb. 7 to one count of first-degree attempted murder after deliberation, according to a news release from the 18th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office.
He earlier told investigators he purposely crashed his car on Aug. 21, 2016 in an effort to kill the unrestrained child who was riding in the back seat, “because being a father was a big responsibility, and he did not think he was man enough to raise a child,” the prosecutor reported in affidavits previously obtained by PEOPLE.
The boy survived the crash with a broken leg, a concussion and a large forehead wound that required about 20 stitches to close. He was returned to the custody of his mother, police told PEOPLE.
“This is one of the worst things anyone could go through,” the mother said in court, according to the statement from the prosecutor. “I don’t understand how he could hurt an innocent child, let alone his own flesh and blood. I don’t think he realizes how much pain he had caused.”
She added: “I realized he had absolutely no remorse or sympathy for his son. He is a selfish human being who will do and say anything to get what he wants. I think he is only sorry that he has to stay in prison and deal with the consequences.”
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“This was a very serious crime in which an innocent child was hurt and very easily … could have been dead,” Judge Jeffrey Holmes said when he sentenced Weitzel to 20 years followed by five years of parole, according to the district attorney’s office.
Weitzel told investigators he had been using cocaine, and said he hatched his plan after taking his son to a park to play. He then searched for a place to crash his car, and later, with the unrestrained boy in the backseat and Weitzel wearing his own seatbelt in front, he drove his Acura sedan at a speed of about 75 miles into several parked cars, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Weitzel initially faced additional charges including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and child abuse resulting in serious bodily injuries. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but changed his plea to guilty only on the attempted murder charge in exchange for the added charges against him being dropped, the prosecutor said.