Hari P. Close III was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday for fatally stabbing his 1-year-old son and hiding the body in the home of the boy's mother, the Baltimore state's attorney's office said.
Close, 26, was sentenced to life in prison with all but 50 years suspended.
James L. Rhodes, Close's attorney, said his client maintained his innocence and entered an Alford plea, which acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to gain a conviction.
"It was a sad case all around," Rhodes said. "My client clearly was emotional about it at some point, and it was very difficult for him to take that plea."
The lawyer added that the deal had long been offered by prosecutors.
The young father had been invited over to celebrate Dalyire Damion McFadden's first birthday in September 2011 but apparently didn't show up. According to court records, he snuck into the Southwest Baltimore home that night and got into bed with the boy's mother. The boy was reported missing the next day.
The boy's mother, Jessica McFadden, spoke in court, according to Rhodes.
"It was extremely difficult to watch," he said. "She lost a child, a very young child, the day after the child's birthday."
Police found the boy's bloodied body wrapped in an air mattress in the basement with stab wounds in the neck, according to news reports at the time. Close was soon charged in the killing.
Close described himself as a male model on his Facebook page, The Sun reported at the time.
Close's father, Hari P. Close II, is the president of the Maryland State Board of Morticians and Funeral Directors. He was in court Thursday, Rhodes said, but could not immediately be reached for comment.