A father who says he accidentally left his 1-year-old twins to die in a hot car while he went to work has had criminal proceedings against him halted.
Juan Rodriguez appeared in court on Thursday, on charges of criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter.
The court heard how the father left his children in the car while he worked at the James J. Peters V.A. Medical Center in the Bronx, New York City.
The 39-year-old father told police he arrived at work in the Bronx at 8am, worked a full shift and had already started driving home at 4pm.
He then discovered the twins, Luna and Phoenix, still strapped in to their car seats.
When he realised neither infant was breathing, the court heard how Rodriguez got out of the car and screamed:“I blanked out. I killed my babies," according to the criminal complaint.
A medical examiner found the babies had a body temperature of 108C when they died.
The district attorney has decided to halt the case going before a grand jury, while further investigations are carried out.
Read more from Yahoo News UK
The distraught father told police he took his 4-year-old son to his day care, but then forgot to drop off the twins.
The criminal case is still active but the prosecution has been paused.
Rodriguez, who served in the National Guard for 22 years, pleaded not guilty to charges, saying he did not act intentionally.
His lawyer, Joey Jackson, said: “The purpose of this court appearance was to determine whether or not the grand jury had proceeded.
“As you know, a grand jury in New York consists of 23 members, 16 of which constitute a quorum, and 12 of which must vote out an indictment.
“At this time, there has been no grand jury action,” Rodriguez’s attorney, Joey Jackson.
“We are speaking to the district attorney’s office to convey to them what I think that they know and understand: That this was a horrific and terrible tragedy.”
His wife, Marissa Rodriguez, said in a statement that she supports her husband and that their twins' deaths was an accident.
Mrs Rodriguez said: "Though I am hurting more than I ever imagined possible, I still love my husband.
“He is a good person and great father and I know he would've never done anything to hurt our children intentionally.
“I will never get over this loss and I know he will never forgive himself for this mistake."
Rodriguez will next appear in court on August 27.