Teen Pleads with Court to Forgive Dad Who Kidnapped Him as a Boy

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children(NEW YORK) -- A teen who was kidnapped when he was 5 years old by his father pleaded with the court Wednesday not to send the man to prison, saying he was well taken care of by him while growing up in Ohio.

Despite the emotional testimony, Bobby Hernandez, 53, the Ohio father who was convicted of kidnapping his son from his mother in Alabama in 2002, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Hernandez was arrested in November after his son, Jonathan, met with his high school guidance counselor to apply for college. Jonathan's counselor realized something was wrong when he couldn't validate the fake Social Security number his dad had created for him and found him in a database for missing children.

Jonathan, whose name was Julian before he was kidnapped, appeared in court Wednesday pleading for his father to be forgiven and not be sent to jail.

"He loved me and protected me more than anybody else I’ve ever known in my life, and whenever I needed something he would make it happen," Jonathan said.

The now 18-year-old compared his father being sentenced to prison to how "painful" it was to grow up without his mother.

"Taking my father away from me now just increases the pain from that," he said, adding that the family "needs him more than anything else."

Bobby Hernandez's fiancee and two neighbors also testified to what a good and loving father he is.

The prosecution read victim impact statements from Jonathan's mother, his maternal grandparents and his mother's best friend, who all allege that Hernandez kidnapped Jonathan as revenge for a breakup. They said Jonathan's mother was dedicated and hard-working, adding that the family has traveled to four different states in the last 13 years to follow up on any leads of his whereabouts, which all came up empty-handed.

Hernandez said he takes full responsibility for what he did but maintained that Jonathan was "always the most important person." He will have the option to appeal his sentence within 30 days.

Jonathan was reported missing by his mother in Alabama in August 2002, according to police. When Jonathan learned of his true identity, he said he simply wanted be a "normal 18-year-old."

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Officials break ground on new park honoring the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombing

Officials break ground on new park honoring the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombingSeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Officials broke ground in Boston Wednesday for a new park dedicated to Martin Richard, the youngest victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Martin was 8 years old when he killed on April 15, 2013, as he watched the marathon from near the finish line with his family. His mother was gravely injured, and his sister, who was 7 at the time,
lost a leg.

Photos from Wednesday's ceremonial groundbreaking show children in hard hats using shovels to dig dirt. Martin's Park, located next to the Boston Children's Museum at the Smith Family Waterfront,
is expected to open in the fall of 2018, according to a press release from the office of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

"This park will bring light & hope to that darkness, honoring his memory & allowing kids to be kids," Baker wrote on Twitter.

#MartinRichard lost his life to terror. This park will bring light & hope to that darkness, honoring his memory & allowing kids to be kids. pic.twitter.com/lYUTMyZNxV

— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) August 16, 2017

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wrote on Twitter that the park will remind its visitors of "hope, compassion & love."

"Martin's spirit will always live on in Boston & in Martin's Park," Walsh wrote.

This park reminds us of hope, compassion & love a young boy taught us all. Martin's spirit will always live on in Boston & in Martin's Park. pic.twitter.com/w6Plokx6D7

— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) August 16, 2017

Both Baker and Walsh spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony, as well as Martin's family.

Martin's sister, Jane Richard, said she knows that her brother is happy that the community is coming together.

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