A New Jersey man has admitted to manslaughter in connection with the October 2015 death of his 3-year-old son, whom he allegedly killed because the child stood in the way of a romantic relationship, PEOPLE confirms.
David Creato Jr., 23, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of first-degree aggravated manslaughter in the death of his son, Brendan Creato, whose body was discovered in woods near his home in Haddon Township, New Jersey.
“Creato stated under oath that he recklessly caused his son’s death under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life by depriving Brendan of oxygen on October 13, 2015,” prosecutors said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, which came about three months after a mistrial in the case, Creato will be sentenced to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison and is required to serve at least eight-and-a-half-years before he is eligible for parole.
“I am very satisfied,” Creato’s defense lawyer, Richard J. Fuschino Jr., tells PEOPLE of the deal. “It was a fair offer that took into account the weaknesses of the case and the fact we had already gone to trial and the prosecution wasn’t able to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
“It was the defendant’s decision to accept the deal and this to me seemed like a deal he was foolish not to take,” Fuschino adds. “I think he is relieved that he is not putting his family through another trial.”
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During the trial, prosecutors argued that Creato killed his son in an attempt to prevent his girlfriend, who allegedly didn’t like the boy, from breaking up with him.
Brendan’s mother, Samantha Denoto, was also called to testify and told jurors that she had a conversation with Creato about one month after the boy’s slaying and he allegedly told her that “maybe the spirits told [Brendan] to walk down to the woods.”
Denoto added that Creato allegedly said the place where Brendan’s body was found was a “sacred, spiritual spot.”
Creato had alleged that his son unlocked the door and wandered out of their house on the morning of Oct. 13, 2015. Creato called 911 around 6 a.m. Police dogs found Brendan’s pajama-clad body three hours, later in a park not far from Creato’s home.
Brendan’s mother and other family members who attended the lengthy trial were also present in court for Creato’s plea on Wednesday.
He will be sentenced on Sept. 29.
During Creato’s original trial, 10 jurors voted to convict, while two jurors believed there was reasonable doubt, Philly.com reports.
One of those who had voted to convict told the site of Creato’s plea, “It’s a very happy day right now. Justice has been served.”