15-month-old Jesse Smith's father charged with murder and mansla - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

15-month-old Jesse Smith's father charged with murder and manslaughter


LAKE GEORGE, N.Y.--A Warren County grand jury has indicted Gary Waite in the death of his own son, charging him with second degree murder and manslaughter.

According to district attorney Kate Hogan, if Waite is convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.

Meanwhile, pictures and memories are all 15-month-old Jesse Smith's family has left.

The toddler was taken off life support Wednesday at Albany Medical Center. Police say he was abused at the hands of his father, suffered a severe head injury, and ultimately became brain-dead.

"It should never have happened to my grandson," says Leland Smith, Sr., Jesse's grandfather. "I hope the father goes away for life, because he is the one who did this to him."

"The damages that were done to my nephew couldn't have happened the way he has been saying," adds Jason Smith, Jesse's uncle. "I just wish he would come forward and tell us the truth."

Jesse's family spoke to NEWS10 ABC on Thursday, and NEWS10 ABC's Taryn Fitsik reached out to them again Friday, to see if they had anything to say about the increase in the level of charges Gary Waite is facing.

They declined comment, saying they just want to focus on Jesse and the next couple of days. The toddler's wake will be Monday and funeral on Tuesday.

Fitsik also reached out to Waite's attorney, Michael Mercure, but did not hear back.

The question on many people's minds is why Waite was even granted joint custody of Jesse.

Police say he has a criminal history, arrested in 2003 for an alleged assault on his sister and also convicted in Queensbury town court of a sex crime involving a then 15-year-old girl.

"I think it was a terrible mistake they overlooked," says Jason Smith.

"There is no way to describe how I feel," adds Patricia Genier, Jesse's aunt. "I sat there and watched that baby until he actually went away. There are bruises that nobody, not even an adult, could handle."

Jesse's wake will be held at the Gospel Lighthouse Church in Hudson Falls from on Monday, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.

The funeral will be on Tuesday, also at the Gospel Lighthouse Church.

As for Waite, the district attorney tells News 10 there is no set date for his arraignment, but it could be next week.

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