Middletown man sentenced to 25 years to life for murdering his infant son

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Heil: 25 to life

GOSHEN – A Middletown man, Michael Heil, 27, was sentenced in Orange
County Court on Thursday to 25 years to life in state prison for having
killed his seven-week-old son.

On September 21, Heil was found guilty after a three week jury trial on
two counts each of murder and manslaughter in the death of Zachary Heil.
Each charge carries its own prison term, but under the law, they must
all run concurrently to each other.

Prosecutors had argued that on August 7, 2016, Heil slammed, severely
shook, or threw the baby. The infant lived for two weeks on life support
before succumbing to his injuries.

During the trial in Judge Craig Stephen Brown’s court, nine medical
witnesses testified for the prosecution and two experts testified on behalf
of Heil. Prosecutors argued that the evidence from all of the medical
experts established the infant had suffered catastrophic head injuries
while being cared for by Heil.

Prosecutors maintained the evidence established that Heil had subjected
his son to traumatic head injuries, while the baby’s mother was
at work. Electronic and social media evidence demonstrated Heil’s
growing patter of frustration over his son’s inconsolable crying
as a result of being diagnosed with colic.

The pattern continued in the hours and minutes prior to the victim becoming
unresponsive.

At the trial, Heil argued that the infant’s mother had injured him.

Heil had been arrested by Middletown City Police on September 13, 2016.

“The judge, following our strong recommendation, sentenced this
defendant to the maximum sentence authorized under the law,” said
District Attorney David Hoovler. “There can be no more innocent
a victim than an infant, and no greater crime than a father killing his
own baby.”