Attorney for father charged in hot car death: "It was a horrible mistake"

Attorney speaks for father charged in hot car death, "It was a horrible mistake"

Metairie - A family grieves the death of the 11-month-old daughter. The father, Sheng Li, is charged in the incident after forgetting she was in the backseat of the car. His attorney, Joe Marino, spoke with Eyewitness News who says what his client did was a mistake.

“They’re extremely family oriented, so everything they were doing and everything they’ve done has been for the family and for the kids," Marino said.

Last Thursday turned everything upside down for Marino's client, Sheng Li.

“He placed her into the seat, and he remembers that he, he thinks that she was asleep or stayed asleep when he put her in," Marino said.

Li was supposed to drop his 11-month-old daughter, Claire, off at daycare, but forgot.

"About a week and a half prior to this, they had started a new daycare," Marino said. "His wife had done most of the dropping off and picking up of the little girl."

Marino said Li went on his daily trip to a friend's business and parked the vehicle and spent the day at the company. Hours later, he realized what happened when his wife said Claire wasn't at the daycare when she went to pick her up.

“He was in the kitchen cooking when he received the phone call from his wife," said Marino. "He dropped the phone and ran out to the van, looked inside, and opened it up and found his daughter still in the seat unresponsive. It was a horrible mistake, a mistake that Sheng was barely able to describe to me what happened.”

Li was arrested Friday and held for several days without bond. Marino said no bond was set because the incident was originally classified as a Gwen's Law case, which usually applies to cases involving domestic abuse. However, on Tuesday, his attorney proved there was no domestic abuse involved and the judge removed Gwen's Law and set a $20,000 bond.

“At this point the case is in the hands of the District Attorney’s Office," said Marino.

On Tuesday night, Li posted bond and went home. He still faces one count of negligent homicide, a charge Marino wants dropped.

“The next step is really meeting with the District Attorney’s Office to try to convince them that these facts do not fit a negligent homicide and to ask them to refuse the charges and let them go on with their lives at this point," he said.

As Li and his wife grieve, friends and colleagues are showing their support, calling it a tragic accident.

"If you go through this stack of letters you'll know what kind of a family this is," said Marino. "Some of their other friends and some of the letters that we have say they were pretty much model parents because their children were so nice and well behaved. There's no gross disregard for any consequences, this was not any type of reckless or careless act on behalf of this father, and it could've happened to any of us."

Eyewitness News reached out to the District Attorney's Office who would not comment since the case is ongoing.

Marino also says Li, who's an engineer, has mentioned he'd like to create something that'll help prevent something like this from happening again.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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