MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) --A Concord man will go to jail for the deadly mauling of his 2-year-old stepgrandson in 2010. The child died when three of his family's pit bulls attacked him. In April, Steven Hiyashi was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. On Monday, a judge sentenced him to a year in prison and three years' probation.
It was an emotional court hearing on Monday morning. Nearly two dozen people either spoke or sent letters to the judge on behalf of Steven Hiyashi. Among them, was the victim's mother. She said that sending the 56-year-old to prison at this point would only compound the family's tragedy.
"The last four years has been hell," Hiyashi said. "I don't even have time to mourn for Jacob."
Hiyashi is a convicted felon, but the Concord man will avoid a state prison sentence in the death of his stepgrandson Jacob Bisbee.
The 2-year-old was mauled to death by three of Hiyashi's five pit bulls in July 2010. The boy wandered into the garage where the dogs were kept.
Jacob and his 4-year-old brother were left alone at the time, while Hayashi went out to play tennis.
His wife Leticia was there, but asleep after working a late night shift as a nurse.
"This was just an accident," Hayashi said. "I didn't expect any of this to happen. Had I known, I never would've left the house that day."
The 56-year-old could have received 10 years in state prison, after being convicted of both felony child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter in Jacob's death.
"It was an entirely avoidable tragedy," said Contra Costa County prosecutor Mary Knox.
Knox had argued for the maximum sentence.
"A 2-year-old is dead," she said. "So quite frankly, no sentence, no punishment, brings justice."
David Cohen, Hayashi's attorney, still plans to appeal the conviction.
"There were really no facts here whether there was any type of warning, any type of attack on human beings," Cohen said.
The dogs had killed two other family pets -- a Chihuahua and a cockatiel -- prior to Jacob's death.