Father of drowned brothers gets 16 years in prison

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) – A 16-year prison sentence was handed down Wednesday against a northwest Indiana man who pleaded guilty to two counts of dependent negligence resulting in grievous bodily harm in the drowning of her two sons.

Levi Patillo, 4, and Evan Patillo, 2, did not respond when two fishermen pulled them of the Kankakee River near the Illinois-Indiana border on August 21, 2018, prosecutors said. Their father, Eric Patillo, 37, told a witness he was addicted to heroin while at the river with his sons.

Patillo’s sentence was handed down by Lake County Judge Samuel Cappas. its may court agreement asked for a sentence of three to eight years for each count. Cappas gave him credit for about three years already served pending resolution of his case.

Lake County Supervisory Assistant District Attorney Bernard Johnsen noted that Patillo was on probation for a drug-related crime in Newton County when the boys died. He called for maximum sentences of eight years on each count, to be served consecutively.

Patillo told the court he was deeply sorry and understood that his actions had caused a lot of pain to many people. He said he shared his story with others in the Lake County Jail to warn them of the dangers of drug addiction. He added that he hopes to continue sharing his story as he moves forward.

Cappas said he would consider a change to Patillo’s sentence if he was successful in securing an order that he would participate in the Indiana Department’s intentional incarceration program for inmates with drug addiction.

Cappas said he believed Patillo’s remorse was genuine, but didn’t trust Patillo to responsibly handle his own rehab. The judge said he designed Patillo’s sentence to be punitive if Patillo fails drug treatment in prison, but to reward Patillo if he succeeds.

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