Family unhappy with punishment of Warren man who killed cousin

Thomas Catalde, 29, was sentenced to 45 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges including involuntary manslaughter

Thomas Catalde is charged with running over his friend in Leavittsburg, Ohio.
Thomas Catalde

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – The family of 15-year-old Jesse Hayes, who was accidentally shot and killed by his cousin last May, says they are not satisfied with the punishment given to the man responsible.

Thomas Catalde, 29, was sentenced to 45 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges including involuntary manslaughter.

“It’s a tragic incident that unfortunately resulted in the death of this young man, Jesse Hayes, and we were very satisfied that the individual who’s going to prison has taken responsibility,” said Asst. Prosecuting Attorney Chris Becker.

Prosecutors say Catalde was under the influence of marijuana and oxycodone at the time.

“There was no evidence that any type of argument or heightened tensions happened before this, it was just simply a case of stupidity on Mr. Catalde’s part while under the influence of drugs,” Becker said.

Hayes’ family, however, says they are not happy with the sentence.

“I don’t believe that the justice was served exactly today. This is more like a smack in the face,” said Hayes’ brother, Kenneth.

“We go see Jesse at the cemetery. It’s not right. It’s not fair that that’s all they gave him,” said his mother, Jacki Felts.

Catalde told investigators he was showing his cousin the gun he just bought and had no idea it was loaded, when he accidentally shot and killed Hayes.

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