Son Begs for Leniency for Dad Who Tossed Him in Oven

Youngster's emotional plea to the judge works for his father.

Friday, Aug 5, 2011  |  Updated 1:46 PM EDT
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A Staten Island boy, whose father burned his hands on the stove and then tossed him naked into an oven, begged a Staten Island judge on Friday to go easy on his father. The youngster's emotional appeal worked. 

"He made a big mistake, but really somewhere in his heart, he is funny, lovable, caring, and a great father," Chris Moss, 11,  said of his father, James, who admitted to the horrific crime. "Everybody in my family ... is giving him a second chance, will you? I just can't see my dad taken away from me. Right now I'm crying because he is the only dad I need."

The Staten Island district attorney's office asked for the maximum sentence, arguing that Moss inhumanly punished his son last year because he thought he stole $20 from his wallet.

Moss was sentenced to four months of weekends in prison at Rikers Island. The 53-year-old will also be put on probation for five years, must live away from his son for one year and take anger management classes.

"This court feels compelled to temper justice with compassion," said Judge Robert J. Collini, according to the Staten Island Advance. The judge said Moss had shown "uninhibited remorse," the paper reported.

Prosecutors say Moss beat the boy with a spatula, put his hands over two hot oven burners and then shoved him into an oven for several minutes.

"I'm going to burn you alive," Moss reportedly yelled, according to court papers.

He did not turn on the oven. The boy's hands were burned when his father held them over the burners.

Moss pleaded guilty to all seven counts of the indictment against him, including two counts of second-degree assault, which carried a possible seven-year sentence.

“We made what we believed was a very persuasive sentence recommendation to the court that significant jail time was appropriate considering the harm that was inflicted upon this child at the hands of his own father,” said Staten Island District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan. “The judge in this case imposed a sentence which he believed was right, considering everything that was before him.”

When expressing his remorse before the court, the father is expressed admiration for his son.

"My son is a better man than me," he said, according to the Advance. "I'm very sorry for what I did."

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