Christopher Kuhn, 28, had his 2-year-old son in tow when he stole from a Walmart in Tullytown, Pennsylvania, authorities said.
The Hamilton, New Jersey man tried to walk out of the store last October with a Vizio sound system worth $228, NJ.com reported. Security told him to stop, the publication said, but Kuhn went on as if he didn’t hear anything, taking Qadan Trievel out of the cart and putting him in his gold Jeep Wagon.
Kuhn didn’t secure Qadan before he sped off, NJ.com said. He blew through a red light and hit another car and rolled over, according to the Bucks County District Attorney’s office.
The impact sent the un-belted boy into the roadway, prosecutors said, fatally fracturing his skull.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Amid the wreckage, Kuhn paused to look at his son’s bleeding, motionless body, CBS Philadelphia reported.
Then he stepped over Qadan and ran, authorities said.
Marwin Sinno, one of the drivers involved in the crash, testified at the trial that after Kuhn’s vehicle rolled onto his, he looked over and saw what he thought was a “doll.”
“I looked again and saw it was a child on the ground,” Sinno said, according to prosecutors.
Sinno never saw Kuhn tend to the child or call for help.
“He paced a couple of times, then he said a couple of curse words,” Sinno said. “Then he took off running.”
Police chased Kuhn, caught him and arrested him, CBS Philadelphia reported.
Tullytown Police Officer John Finby said he found Kuhn sitting alone in the weeds nearby, hugging his knees, prosecutors said. Kuhn “did not want to go back” to the crime scene, Finby said.
Another officer, Justin Grotz, said, “I think he’s dead” to a handcuffed Kuhn.
Kuhn then let out a high-pitched scream that lasted several minutes, prosecutors said.
Qadan was pronounced dead at a hospital, CBS Philadelphia reported. Toxicology reports show Oxycontin and marijuana were in Kuhn’s system at the time of the crash, prosecutors said.
His public defender, Bradley Bastedo, told a judge that his client’s cries “were not the cries of a hardened heart,” according to the district attorney’s office. Kuhn’s actions were “tragic” and “reckless,” but not “malicious,” Bastedo argued.
Judge Robert Baldi found Kuhn guilty Wednesday of third-degree murder, retail theft and a slew of other charges.
Kuhn, who remains behind bars, faces a maximum of 20 to 40 years on the murder charge alone when he’s sentenced in June, according to prosecutors.