EUGENE, Ore. -- A Springfield man was sentenced to 25 years in prison Thursday for the death of a 16-month-old child last February.
Louis Pocza, 22, pleaded guilty earlier this month to first-degree manslaughter and assault. Court documents say Pocza assaulted Gabriel Kasper on Feb. 7, 2019 which caused his death.
Pocza was originally charged with murder, but chose to plead guilty to manslaughter and assault for a guaranteed sentence of 25 years.
"The difference would have been if he would have been convicted of murder, he would have been available for parole at 25 years and likely released at 25 years," said Lane County Senior Prosecutor Katherine Green.
Green said this was also the preferred option after speaking with the victim's family.
"We certainly consulted her and the father regarding their wishes regarding these negotiations and arrived at a resolution that everyone is comfortable with," Green said.
The victim's father also made a statement over the phone in court and aimed it directly at Pocza.
"I'm choosing to be able to forgive you," Kasper's father said. "I hope you understand the feelings for everybody for what you've done."