In deciding on an appropriate sentence for a 17-year-old who pleaded guilty to recklessly causing the death of his infant son, Justice John L. Michalski considered what the teen did not do that day as much as what he did do.
“You had options,” the judge told Michael Fiorentino before sentencing him Friday to three to nine years in state prison. “It’s my understanding that there were other adults in the house, and you didn’t seek help.”
Two-month-old Bradley Fagan was hospitalized Oct. 24 after he was found unresponsive in the home on Meadow Place in Cheektowaga that Fiorentino shared with the baby’s mother and her family. Doctors determined that Bradley had been shaken. The baby died a few days later at Women & Children’s Hospital. His father was 16 years old at the time; his mother was 18. Both were still in high school.
“After you knew what you had done,” the judge continued, “you put the baby back in his crib and went to sleep.”
The young man’s actions were “selfish and callous, with catastrophic consequences,” the judge said, as he denied the defense request that Fiorentino be given youthful offender status.
Fiorentino has been free on bail since he turned himself in to Cheektowaga Police in February. After the baby’s death, he had gone to Texas to live with his mother, who was in State Supreme Court with other family members Friday.
For his conviction of second degree manslaughter, Fiorentino could have been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
Defense attorney Brian Parker asked the judge to consider the lower range of sentencing in light of the teen’s otherwise clean criminal record and testimonies from adults who know him about his good character.
“My client is a very young man who fathered a child at a very young age,” Parker said.
Coaches, teachers and others described Fiorentino as helpful, diligent, a good student and a hard worker who was employed nearly full time while going to school.
Parker pointed out that Fiorentino’s father “essentially abandoned him” at about the same time Bradley was born, but rather than move to Texas to live with his mother, the teen moved in with the baby’s mother to help with the child and finish school in New York.
Fiorentino was emotional during the proceedings and didn’t address the court other than to say he was sorry.