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'They loved their son' | Man charged in autistic teen's drowning is innocent, attorney says

He's facing up to 15 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — The attorney representing Timothy Koets, the man charged for the drowning death of his son, said his client is a loving father who went the extra mile to help the severely autistic teen. 

"They were doing a very good job in raising Sam, and they loved their son very much," said David Kallman, a Lansing-based attorney representing Koets.

Koets is facing up to 15 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after the death of his 16-year-old son, Sam. He is also charged with multiple counts of child abuse. 

The associate Grand Rapids Community College professor made a brief appearance at Hudsonville District Court Tuesday for a probable cause conference. He is out on bond after being arrested on Oct. 24 at the college. 

Police said Sam was living in "deplorable conditions" in the basement of the family home. A search of the bedroom revealed "multiple large spots of smeared fecal matter," according to court records. 

Any reasonable person would agree the conditions were not deplorable, Kallman said. 

RELATED: Dad charged in death of autistic teen found in pool with his arms bound

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"We have some parents here who were doing a great job in caring for a severely handicapped child," he said. "Samuel had been their main focus in life and they had gone to various agencies...a number of local government agencies seeking help and have been turned away time after time. Now a tragic accident happens, and now the government turns on them."

Koets will be back in court on Dec. 6 for a preliminary hearing to hear the evidence against him. 


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