Parents react to murder charge against man police say killed their son

ALBANY, NY. – Shannon Pozniakas stands at the overlook of the Corning Preserve remembering moments with her son Avery Cahn.

“He always used to take off if I took him out of the stroller. He'd be like a bug in the light. He'd just be running everywhere,” Pozniakas said.

Police say the 21-month-old was smothered to death, by Robert Hayden, 29. Avery was in the care of Hayden shortly before he was found dead on January 7, 2012. Hayden was facing manslaughter charges, but is now facing a 2nd degree murder charge.

“I just can't get the thought out of my head, to what he was doing to my son in that bedroom,” Pozniakas said.

In the three months since her son was found dead, Pozniakas says she's helped police attain new evidence. That evidence is one of the things she believes caused a grand jury to upgrade Hayden's charges from manslaughter to murder. Rensselaer County District Attorney Rich McNally says that the new evidence, can't be released at this time, is what made the difference.

“The grand jury heard the evidence, and the grand jury voted the indictment that's pretty much all I can say,” McNally said.

Earlier in the day, NEWS10 caught up with Avery's father Matthew Cahn who says he's struggling to cope with the loss of his only son.

“He loved everyone who was around him, and um, I'll never be the same…and I'll keep him in my heart wherever I go,” Cahn said.

Even with the new charge Poznaikas says no amount of jail time will ever be enough for Hayden, because she can never get her son back.

“How could you sit anywhere and live with yourself knowing you killed a baby, an innocent baby that didn't deserve to die,” Poznaikas said.

Hayden is scheduled to be arraigned in court on April 25, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.

The parents are hosting a Benefit for Avery on Sunday, May 6 at Uncle Sam Lanes from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The benefit includes two hours of bowling for $20.00 for adults and $15.00 for kids. For more information call (518) 596-9856.

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