D.J. Creato pleads guilty in death of 3-year-old son

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David “D.J.” Creato Jr., pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated manslaughter in the death of  his 3-year-old son, Brendan, and dumping the boy’s body in woods in Haddon Township in 2015.

He faces a 10-year term when he is sentenced Sept. 29 and will be required to serve 8 ½ years before parole.

The surprise plea came 2 ½ weeks before Creato was to go on trial for a second time for murder on Sept. 11.

Brendan’s mother, Samantha Denoto, and other family members who attended the lengthy trial, were present in court for the plea before Superior Court Judge John T. Kelley.

Prosecutors first tried the case in May, but a mistrial was declared after two of the 12 jurors concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to find Creato guilty. The remaining 10 believed he was guilty.

In the first trial, prosecutors argued that Creato killed Brendan to prevent his girlfriend, who demanded she be Creato’s number-one priority, from leaving him.

The defense argued that Creato was the victim of a flawed police investigation and that authorities had only circumstantial evidence to link Creato to his son’s death.

Brendan’s pajama-clad body was found slumped over a rock and partially submerged in a creek in woods about three-quarters of a mile from Creato’s apartment in Haddon Township on Oct. 13, 2015.

Creato called 911 around 6 a.m. that day, saying he woke up and Brendan was missing.

Creato was arrested and charged with murder three months later and has remained in the Camden County Jail on $750,000 bail.

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