The owner of a former Coquitlam daycare where an infant boy died will have to wait a month to find out her fate.
A judge decided to hold over sentencing for Maria McFerran, the Port Coquitlam woman who pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death.
McFerran was charged in connection with the death of Arto Howley, a one-year-old infant at her Rattle-N-Roll daycare back on Jan. 17, 2011.
The 49-year-old was in Port Coquitlam provincial court Tuesday for her sentencing hearing.
The Crown asked the judge to consider a jail sentence of two to three years, while the defense was asking for six to 12 months.
The proceedings also included heart-wrenching victim impact statements from Arto's parents, Jeff and Victoria Howley.
"The day I heard my son was killed, the good part of me died with him," Jeff told a courtroom filled with emotional family members.
At times breaking down in tears, the father described his life since Arto's death, noting he's gone into depression and alcoholism and contemplates suicide every day.
Jeff also told the court the stress of his son's death destroyed his marriage, noting he lost his job and had to move to Alberta to live with his parents before moving to Kamloops where he currently resides.
"Life sucks for me," he said.
Arto's mother Victoria showed the judge a picture of her young son during her statement.
She said she has trouble seeing other children since her son's death, adding the emotional scars have been overwhelming.
Outside the courthouse, Victoria told media no punishment could fit the crime.
"No sentence could ease the pain of losing Arto or make up for the devastating impact that loss has had on our family," she said.
In her statement, Victoria also called for changes to the daycare system, specifically suggesting the system should be set up so that families have easy access to information to make decisions about a daycare.
"We picked Maria McFerran based on the information that was available to us at the time," she said.
"We now know that information wasn't complete."
The facts of the case were also laid out during Tuesday's proceedings.
As heard in court, the Howleys dropped off their son at the daycare on Shaughnessy Street on the morning of Jan. 17.
It was his first day at the daycare.
Though the unlicensed facility was only supposed to have two children, on the morning of Arto's death, six other children were in the care of McFerran and her daughter, who also helped out.
At around 10 a.m., McFerran put Arto in a car seat and left him alone in a bedroom.
When she checked back on him at 11: 15 a.m., Arto was unresponsive and slumped over in the car seat.
McFerran removed the infant from the car seat and took him downstairs to her daughter.
She put the car seat in the garage and then called 911 seven minutes later.
Arto died, and the cause of death was ruled strangulation.
When police arrived, she told investigators she had last seen the infant an hour earlier in a crib.
However, the next day, McFerran changed her story, confessing to police she had put Arto in the car seat.
McFerran's lawyer, Mark Bussanich, told the judge his client has shown "deep remorse" and will likely never be in a courtroom again.
A tearful McFerran also stood up in court to address the Howley family, quietly stating: "I just want to say I'm sorry."
Justice David Stone will hand down his sentence on May 27.
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