A growing number of people in Genesee County have a message for Chemung County Judge Peter C. Buckley: Do right by Baby Andrew.
They already think Buckley has served justice poorly by not finding Andrew Cianfrini's killer -- his own stepmother, 24-year-old Melissa Engelhardt -- guilty of murder. Instead, Buckley found Engelhardt guilty of only manslaughter in a non-jury trial where Buckley was the sole fact-finder in the case.
More than 1,200 people have joined a Facebook group, Justice for Baby Andrew, and about 100 of them gathered Wednesday evening for a candlelight vigil at St. Joseph's Mausoleum, where Baby Andrew was laid to rest.
The vigil came on the one-year anniversary of Andrew's death and 26 days before Engelhardt is scheduled to be sentenced in Elmira.
"Today is a day to honor Andrew," said Kathy Dempski, a friend of Andrew's biological mother, Kristen. "But it's also a day to let the judge know about the injustice he gave to Andrew."
She later added, "She (Engelhardt) deserves to spend the rest of her life in prison. She doesn't deserve to walk out. She doesn't deserve anything."
Andrew's grandfather, John Cianfrini, pointed out that since Engelhardt was only convicted of manslaughter, the maximum penalty she faces is 25 years. She could receive as little as five years and then be eligible for parole after serving only two-thirds of that time.
"You would have had to be there to appreciate what a devastating decision this was," Cianfrini said. "He (the judge) basically believed her story that she didn't intend to kill Andrew, only hurt him."
An expert toxicologist testified at trial that the 21-month-old toddler had twice the lethal amount of formic acid in his heart from the methanol in his system.
Methanol lowers the freezing point of water. It is a component of windshield-washer fluid.
Englehardt put the methanol in Andrew's sippy cup. Prior to poisoning Andrew, according to testimony, Englehardt did a computer search on how to poison a toddler.
John Cianfrini encouraged concerned residents to write letters to the probation department in Chemung County, which is in the midst of preparing a pre-sentence report that Buckley will review prior to imposing a sentence.
Englehardt is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 6.