Jury finds man who drank gin, left toddler in hot car guilty of negligent homicide

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James Koryor in an April 21, 2015 booking photo. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) James Koryor in an April 21, 2015 booking photo. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Phoenix police say a 2 1/2-year-old boy died after being left in this Nissan Sentra at his family home in A Phoenix police say a 2 1/2-year-old boy died after being left in this Nissan Sentra at his family home in A
James Koryor in an April 21, 2015 booking photo. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) James Koryor in an April 21, 2015 booking photo. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A jury on Tuesday found a man accused of manslaughter in the heat-related death of his toddler not guilty of that charge, but guilty of both negligent homicide and child abuse.

According to police, James Koryor, now 43, drank a bottle of gin while driving with his two sons in April 2015. He was supposed to be taking them to get haircuts, but went to a liquor store instead. He then went home and fell asleep.

Koryor’s 5-year-old son was able to get out of the car by himself, but his 2-1/2-year-old could not.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Father drinks gin, falls asleep before toddler dies in hot car]

"Other family members in the house believed that (Koryor) had gotten both the children out of the car," Sgt. Trent Crump, a public information officer for the Phoenix Police Department at the time, said. "They had seen the 5-year-old running around the house while they were doing other things and asked where his brother was, to which everybody believed he was sleeping."

The little boy’s mother found the child in the family's Nissan Sentra parked outside the house when she was leaving the home to go to class. 

According to Amanda Jacinto of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Koryor told police he "woke up to his wife screaming ...."

[RELATED: Father pleads not guilty in heat-related death of toddler son]

Investigators said there was damage to the interior of the car indicating that the toddler tried to get out. They believe he was trapped inside the vehicle for at least two hours. The temperature that day was 93 degrees.

"Experts estimated the temperature inside the car was between 132 and 137 degrees," Jacinto said.

That's in line with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“When temperatures outside range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 to 172,” the agency warns.

[RELATED: Facts and stats about child deaths in hot vehicles]

An animation created by General Motors shows how quickly the inside of car can heat up, even on a relatively cool day.

Bryan Bouchard, a spokesman for the Superior Court of Arizona, said the aggravation phase of Koryor’s trial has already started.

Chapter 11 of Arizona’s Criminal Code lays out the definitions of manslaughter and negligent homicide.

Manslaughter is a class 2 felony involving reckless behavior or “heat of passion.” It carries a minimum sentence of four years in prison and a maximum of 10 years for first-time offenders.

Negligent homicide, of which Koryor is guilty, is a lesser charge -- a class 4 felony that involves criminal negligence. For first-time offenders, a class 4 felony carries a presumptive penalty of 2.5 years in prison. A mitigated sentence drops to one year. If aggravating factors are found, the sentence goes up to 3.75 years.

“This case involves the senseless death of a young innocent victim, whose life was cut short by the careless and self-centered actions of his father,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said.

Koryor's sentencing is slated for Feb. 16, 2018.


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