Middletown man gets 25 to life for murdering infant son

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GOSHEN – Michael Heil was sentenced in Orange County Court on Thursday to 25 years to life in state prison for killing his seven-week-old son.
On September 21, Heil, 27, of Middletown, 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 run concurrently.
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 was 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.”