While the defense argued Arkaydin’s injuries were due to a possible illness, the jury ultimately found Marquez guilty of second-degree reckless homicide on Nov. 11; he had originally been charged with first-degree reckless homicide, which a jury felt was too heavy a charge upon conclusion of the trial.
Brittney Struebing, Arkaydin’s mother, was in attendance of the sentencing, along with her mother, who addressed the court.
“You take away a life, you shouldn’t have a life. But, we can’t control that. I’m just asking you please give him as much time as possible,” Struebing’s mom said through tears. “We are affected by this the rest of our life and he should too.”
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Defense: ‘Marquez is not a monster’
“We all knew, and he knew, you don’t shake a baby,” lead prosecutor Diane Donohoo said. “There is no excuse.” She noted that the home smelled of marijuana when the baby died.
Prosecuting attorney Diane Donohoo also pointed to investigators’ recollection of arriving to the scene: Marquez handed Arkaydin over “as if ridding himself of any obligation to help save his child’s life.”
The prosecution recommended a sentencing of 16 years in prison.
“I counted the days; Arkaydin was alive for 16 weeks and we are recommending 16 years of initial confinement,” Donohoo said. “The state submits that that is the minimum that will adequately protect the public and give this defendant an opportunity to make meaningful rehabilitation — he’s not there yet. I don’t know that jail has humbled him. He is perhaps fearful of what this court is going to do today, but he deserves what he is about to get.”
Defense attorney Adrienne Moore, of the State Office of the Public Defender, maintained Marquez’ character, stating that throughout the trial Marquez did not once show any anger, only what she described as “sheer agony.” She said he attempted to take his own life while in jail.
“Jeremy Marquez is not a monster,” she said.
Moore added that the court couldn’t do or say more to Marquez than he has already has to himself.
“I wish I wasn’t under the influence at the time. Maybe I would have reacted better,” Marquez said tearfully. “Maybe I would have been more attentive to my son’s care. I wish it had never happened and I am —” he paused, seemingly overwhelmed — “truly sorry.”
Racine County Circuit Court Judge Robert Repischak emphasized that the case was no longer about the debate in the medical community about a possible illness versus being shaken, whether it was a botched attempt at CPR or getting vengeance.
The jury had already decided that while Marquez did not mean to do so, he had caused his son’s death. Repischak said he believed it was the correct verdict and that Marquez had “manhandled” his son.
“This is a tragic, tragic event,” Repischak said. “No prison time is going to bring back your child. You’re going to have to live with the fact that you ended your child’s life.”
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“You’re going to have to live with the fact that you ended your child’s life.”
Judge Robert Repischak