Dad Who Took Smoke Break While Baby Son Drowned Gets 2 1/2 Years

(STMW) — A South Side man was sentenced to more than two years in prison Thursday after admitting that his 8-month-old son drowned in a bathtub while he walked away for a cigarette break.

Willie Strong pleaded guilty to child endangerment Thursday and Judge Joseph Kazmierski Jr. sentenced him to 2 1/2 years in prison, Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokesman Stephen Campbell said. Strong was given credit for 290 days served in the Cook County Jail.

On Sept. 11, 2012, Jayshaun Strong’s mother came home from school and found the 8-month-old floating face-up in the bathtub with his eyes wide open, assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Gleason said during Strong’s bond hearing.

The woman also found Jayshaun’s 2-year-old brother sitting in the 6 inches of water when she went to use the bathroom, authorities said.

Just a few minutes before she walked into the apartment in the 6300 block of South King Drive, she saw the children’s father, Willie Strong, 31, sitting in the front room by the computer, prosecutors said.

The 24-year-old mother pulled her younger son from the bathtub and started CPR. She called 911 and an ambulance took the boy to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, Gleason said.

Strong told police he put his sons in the bath around 2:30 p.m., but left them alone for roughly 10 minutes so he could smoke a cigarette. He said he was still smoking when the children’s mother came home, Gleason said.

According to a police report, the children were left unattended for 20 minutes. Strong, who had been living at the apartment on a part-time basis, was the only person watching the children.

Strong has a prior felony drug conviction.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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