NEW YORK (KTVI) -- A New York man facing charges in connection with the hot-car deaths of his 1-year-old twins drew support from his wife and other relatives and friends Thursday morning, as they packed a Bronx courtroom during a brief hearing.
Juan Rodriguez, 39, learned in Thursday’s hearing that the district attorney had not yet asked a grand jury to determine whether to indict him.
At a news conference afterward, he stood silently, with his wife Marissa Rodriguez holding his arm, as his attorney said he hopes the prosecutor will ultimately not pursue the case.
Another hearing will be held August 27 to determine whether a grand jury has been convened, said his attorney Joey Jackson, who is also a CNN analyst.
“We are hopeful that that will not be the case,” Jackson said.
“We are speaking to the district attorney’s office to convey to them what I think they know and understand, that this was a horrific and terrible tragedy,” Jackson said.
Rodriguez was arrested after his twins, Luna and Phoenix, were found Friday afternoon unresponsive in the back seats of his Honda sedan in the Bronx, allegedly after having been in the car for about eight hours, the New York Police Department said.
Rodriguez had been working that day at a nearby Veterans Affairs hospital, and he told investigators that he assumed he had dropped them off at a day care facility that morning, police said in a criminal complaint filed in court.
Temperatures that Friday reached highs in the mid-80s, according to the National Weather Service. The twins were pronounced dead on the scene.
Rodriguez was arraigned on Saturday in New York on charges of manslaughter, negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a child, according to the New York City Police Department. He pleaded not guilty, said Patrice O’Shaughnessy, a spokeswoman for the Bronx District Attorney.