Updated 10/25/2012 05:01 PM
Hayden sentenced to 25 years for toddler’s death
A man who admitted killing a 21-month-old baby he was babysitting received the maximum punishment in court Thursday morning. Megan Cruz has more on the sentencing of Robert Hayden.
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TROY, N.Y. -- "Avery was my only grandchild," said the grandmother of 21-month-old Avery Cahn. "He represented my future, my legacy, my sense of continuity into the future. All that was taken from me on January 7th."
Robert Hayden yawned multiple times while she read her victim impact statement at his sentencing Friday for killing her 21-month-old grandson.
While the 29-year-old also fidgeted with his chains and rolled his eyes, the young boy's family members weeped with sadness and anger.
"Robert, you were able to celebrate more birthdays, you got to ride a bike, go to school, you got to enjoy your family, and you definitely got to grow up. All things you have taken away from Avery," said the toddler's mother, Shannon Pozniakas.
Hayden was sentenced to 25 years in prison, followed by 5 years post-supervision.
Earlier this month, Hayden pleaded guilty to suffocating Avery back in January. He claims it was an accident, an attempt to stop him from crying while he babysat the boy at Pozniakas' Griswold Heights apartment. The two had dated, and he had watch Avery and his brother Ethan before.
"As a Christian, God calls me to forgive you. But as a father of a child who was murdered in cold blood, I'll never be able to forgive you," said Avery's biological father Matthew Cahn. He had requested to leave his cell for Thursday's sentencing. He was locked up earlier this year for having a domestic dispute with Pozniakas.
"You killed an innocent, beautiful, happy little boy," Cahn said, before he stared down Hayden while being led out of the courtroom.
Family members say they think about Avery every single day.
"I still have his car seat in my garage," said Avery's grandmother. "I haven't been able to part with that yet."
"I shouldn't have to explain to Ethan why his 2-year-old brother is no longer here," said Pozniakas. "No mother should ever be put in that position."
Avery was described as an exuberant, happy little boy. He loved to dance, loved music, and his favorite word was "more."
His family wished Avery had more than what he got.