LANSING, MICH. - A judge had strong words for Tatum Cole Wednesday morning in 30th Circuit Court, where the 22-year-old was sentenced to at least 10 years in prison for shaking his infant daughter to death.
"The only remorse you have, sir, is for yourself — that you will be locked up and taken away from your family," said Judge Rosemarie Aquilina. "Sorry doesn't bring Ava back."
Cole, of Lansing, was charged with open murder and first-degree child abuse after 8-month-old Ava Cole's death in May 2016.
He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse at a jury trial in May. Both charges were included as possible lesser offenses if jurors didn't think there was enough evidence to convict on the more serious charges.
Aquilina ordered Cole to spend between 10 and 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge. An additional sentence of about 6-10 years will be served concurrently for the child abuse charge.
Cole and Ava's mother were not living together at the time, but Cole sometimes watched the baby, according to previous testimony. He shook Ava to get her to stop crying and refused to call for help until after the child had stopped breathing, prosecutors said.
"It is clear that he has no remorse whatsoever," said Assistant Ingham County Prosecutor Jonathan Roth at Wednesday's hearing."
"I'm sorry as much as I can possibly be," Cole maintained. "I am in fact remorseful."
"At a young age I learned not to cry in front of people I don't know," he said.
The child's mother declined to comment after the hearing.
Donald Morofsky, Ava's grandfather, said he thinks Cole should have been convicted of murder instead of manslaughter.
"I was there for the trial. I don't know what the jury saw," he said. "I hope (Cole) spends the whole 10 years thinking about Ava every day."
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