A young dad, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison after he left his son unattended in a bathtub, is a free man. The judge who sentenced him had a change of heart.
When Zacary Anderson was charged, he was a 19-year-old kid with no criminal history. He says he made a stupid mistake.
Up until Monday, October 1, Anderson thought he’d be locked up for two decades to pay for that mistake.
"At this moment, I'm still in shock that she was able to modify my sentence and actually let me walk out,” says Anderson.
In 2014, Anderson was charged with child neglect. He says he was giving his 9-month-old son a bath. The baby was in a child seat. That’s when his toddler son began screaming so Anderson left the baby to check on the toddler.
“There's not a day that doesn't go by that I wish I could change what happened. There's been a lot of thoughts about what I could have done that day. Like just picking him up out of the bathtub and walking out there to deal with my other kid,” says Anderson.
The baby fell forward into the water and lost consciousness.
"Then I immediately picked him up went around beating on people’s doors to get someone to call 911, because I didn't have a cell phone at the place,” says Anderson.
The baby survived but has severe brain trauma.
Police recreated the filling of the tub and determined Anderson left the baby alone in the tub for 17 minutes.
Anderson can’t say why he didn’t just take the baby with him.
"I don't know why. It's just like I immediately just got up. Not like I wanted to, I mean it's not like I stopped for two seconds to think what would happen if I didn't,” says Anderson.
Anderson spent a year in prison before he was released. He says he won’t waste the opportunity he’s been given. He plans to go to college and work to support his sons. And he says he’s grateful for the time he spent in prison.
"The fact that I was able to come close to God, just understand what he did for me I understand that it was a necessary thing. I mean, do I feel like at sometimes I still deserve to be there? Absolutely,” says Anderson.