Amherst man gets 5 to 7 years in death of infant son

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 01-04-2023 8:57 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A former Amherst man will serve five to seven years in state prison after pleading guilty in Hampshire Superior Court on Wednesday to a criminal charge stemming from the 2019 death of his 4-month-old baby, according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

Isaac Villalobos, also known as Angel M. Carattini-Rivera, pleaded guilty in court to a felony charge of assault and battery on a child causing substantial injury, for administering adult sleep medication with an infant syringe to the baby.

Hampshire Superior Court Judge Richard J. Carey accepted the change of plea, acting on the joint recommendation from Assistant District Attorney Andrew C. Covington and defense attorney Alan M. Rubin of the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

As part of the agreement in which Villalobos, 35, will serve the state prison sentence, prosecutors dropped charges of manslaughter, reckless endangerment of a child, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a child under 14.

Earlier this month, Carey rejected a change of plea to involuntary manslaughter that would have carried a state prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Villalobos was arraigned on the charges in July after being indicted by the Hampshire Grand Jury following a three-year investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of his infant son, who died Sept. 15, 2019 as a result of receiving adult sleep medicine.

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The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the cause of the baby’s death to be acute doxylamine intoxication.

“This was a horrific tragedy,” Covington said in a statement issued by the Northwestern district attorney’s office. “In this case, the commonwealth wanted to provide a measure of closure for the victim’s family while also holding the defendant accountable for his actions. We feel the best interests of justice were served with this plea and sentencing today.”

In an interview, Rubin said his client loved his child, had no intention of harming him and was trying to settle him down, having no idea of the harm he would cause.

“He wanted to resolve this so everyone can move on,” Rubin said of the plea deal. “It was a reasonable resolution after a lot of work.”

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