Livingston County man sentenced 22 years to life for killing his infant son

Zachary McCaa

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LIVINGSTON COUNTY, N.Y.  — A 28-year-old Livingston County man will spend at least 22 years behind bars for murdering his two-month-old son, Judge Kevin Van Allen decided Tuesday.

Zachary McCaa was sentenced to 22 years to life for murder in the second degree, five to 15 years for manslaughter in the second degree, and one year for endangering the welfare of a child — to be served concurrently.

In July 2022, McCaa was left home alone with his son for three hours. In that brief window, he violently abused Caiden McCaa, inflicting injuries that would eventually kill the infant.

Ahead of his sentencing, prosecutor and District Attorney Greg McCaffrey detailed the abuse to the dozens of people in the courtroom, bringing many to tears. 

During the 10-day trial in October, McCaa was found to have grabbed the infant by his neck, hit him on his crib, thrown him into the crib, deliberately and repeatedly dropped him on his head, and inflicted many other injuries. He also inflicted severe trauma to Caiden’s eyes. 

When first responders got to the Caledonia home, they rushed Caiden to Strong Memorial Hospital. He died a week later, which upped McCaa’s initial assault charges.

While many in the courtroom cried, McCaa himself showed little emotion both at the sentencing and, prosecutors argued, throughout the trial.

“That’s been my frustration since the beginning of this case,” McCaffrey said after the sentencing. “I understand the system, it’s a right to stay silent. He seems like a quiet gentleman anyway. But to never show remorse, never show emotion, I mean — this was his son. This was his parent’s grandchild. People react differently in times of stress and emotion, but he was alone with his son for three hours, and he killed him. It’s that simple.”

Ahead of sentencing, McCaa’s friends and family sent in letters of support, asking for leniency. McCaffrey asked for the maximum sentencing, and told the judge that what McCaa can only be described as a “depraved indifference to human life.”

 “Kids cry, kids get inconsolable, kids — you think you can’t get through it, but it never gets this bad,” McCaffrey said to reporters. “Caiden was supposed to go to his [maternal] grandmother’s house that day. So put the baby down, and walk away.”

News10NBC spoke to Caiden’s maternal grandmother after the sentencing. She declined to speak on camera, but said through tears she did not believe this was justice for her grandson. She said she’d wanted much more prison time, and believed this was a slap on the wrist for McCaa.

The maximum sentencing for McCaa would have been 25 years to life for second-degree murder, 15 years to life for second-degree manslaughter, and one year for endangering the welfare of a child, served concurrently.