WATERLOO | A judge said Daniel Reddout’s ongoing practice of choking his toddler son to calm him for naps was “off the charts dangerous.”
Still, Judge George Stigler said he didn’t believe Reddout, 25, intended to kill his child, 17-month-old Kaleb, when he used the choking method a last time while visiting friends at a Cedar Falls motel in April 2011.
“You did not fully appreciate the danger that you presented to Kaleb. You are a bad parent, not a parent who set out to intentionally kill his child. Nonetheless, you are a dangerous individual. You did this repeatedly,” Stigler said Monday as he sentenced Reddout to up to 50 years in prison.
He merged an involuntary manslaughter charge and ran prison time for two child endangerment convictions concurrently. There is no mandatory minimum before Reddout can be considered for parole.
“I hope that when you do get out you will do one of two things. You will resolve not to have additional children unless you have done something about dealing with your drug problem and dealing with you inability to be a good parent, or at the very least that you will be a far more responsible person and take Kaleb’s life into consideration should you ever have an additional child,” Stigler said.
Reddout said he planned to better himself as a way to make amends for those he hurt.
“This will consist of staying clean, taking parenting classes, getting a job and hopefully getting the same chance to have somewhat of a regular life and a family. In my mind and in my heart, I will always serve a life sentence. I understand my boy paid the ultimate price for my actions,” said Reddout, reading from a folded sheet of paper.
He said if he had known what he was doing was harming his son, he wouldn’t have done it.
Assistant County Attorney Linda Fangman sought the maximum, a 100-year sentence, adding the manslaughter and endangerment charges together.
“We did have a child who was killed. Fifty years is but a drop in the bucket compared to what Kaleb will not be living. A hundred years is but a drop in the bucket of what Kaleb will not be living,” Fangman said.
She said Reddout admitted he choked the child numerous times throughout his short life.
“He took this action upon himself to literally prevent his own child from breathing on multiple occasions so that he could go off and spend time with either Stephanie (Burt, Kaleb’s mother), his friends or his video games, whatever the case may be,” Fangman said.
She said Reddout told probation officers he was using marijuana at the time of the incident.
Kaleb’s grandparents attended the sentencing.
“Losing Kaleb was like having your heart ripped out,” Kaleb’s maternal grandparents, Tammy Buehner and Patrick Burt, said in a prepared statement, which was read by Fangman because of Buehner’s health issues. She said Kaleb’s death also took a part of Burt and other relatives.
Kaleb’s maternal great-grandmother, Gladys Sturgill, said she forgave Reddout.
“I will never understand how you could do such a thing as taking his life,” she said.
Authorities had charged Reddout with first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death and child endangerment, multiple acts. During a September trial, jurors found him guilty of the child endangerment charges and a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.