Appellate court upholds life sentence for Jersey City man who killed 23-month old boy

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The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division upheld a life sentence for a Jersey City man convicted by a Hudson County jury of killing a 23-month-old boy he was babysitting back in July 2018.

Andrew Howard-French. Photo courtesy of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Leaving an injured twenty-three-month-old Bryce without adult supervision cannot reasonably be viewed as protecting the child,” Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division Judges Thomas W. Sumners, Richard J. Geiger, and Stephanie Ann Mitterhoff ruled today.

“Defendant offered no proof that he protected Bryce to justify the affirmative defense of summoning medical treatment. Thus, no unjust result occurred because the jury was not instructed on the affirmative defense.”

Andrew Howard-French, 30, of Jersey City, who is serving a life sentence at New Jersey
State Prison, appealed the conviction on grounds including the evidence that was presented, the judge’s instructions to the jury, and deprived of effective assistance of counsel, all of which were denied.

“We are pleased with the Appellate Division’s decision in this case as this was a particularly
heinous and heartbreaking murder of an innocent child for which the defendant showed no
remorse,” Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said in a statement.

“We thank the jurors who served on this trial and the prosecutors who worked at the trial and appellate levels to ensure justice was served.”

On Tuesday, July 17th, 2018, at approximately 3:30 p.m., Jersey City police officers were
dispatched to 115 Van Wagenen Ave. on a report of a child with life-threatening injuries.

The child, later identified as 23-month-old Bryce Sparrow of Jersey City, was transported by Emergency Medical Services to the Jersey City Medical Center where he was
pronounced dead at approximately 3:45 p.m.

Howard-French was found guilty by a Hudson County Jury in October 2019 of first-degree
murder, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and third-degree endangering an injured victim.

During the course of the trial, the state presented evidence establishing that the victim suffered multiple blunt force injuries resulting in his death.

He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder charge and an additional five years in state prison for endangering an injured victim to run consecutive to the life sentence.

On the count of endangering the welfare of a child, Howard- French was sentenced to 10 years in state prison to run concurrent to the life sentence.

The life sentence is subject to the No Early Release Act which requires that Howard-French will have to serve 85 percent of 75 years, or 63 years and nine months, before he is eligible for parole.

According to the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Howard-French’s current parole eligibility date is April 23rd, 2082.