'I blanked out:' New City father pleads not guilty in hot car deaths of twins

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NEW CITY -

The New City father accused in the hot car deaths of his 1-year-old twins has pleaded not guilty.

Police say Juan Rodriguez was inconsolable when he realized what he had done saying, "I blanked out, my babies are dead. I killed my babies."

The 39-year-old is charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide but has received unconditional support from neighbors in his community who believe there is no way Rodriguez did this on purpose.

Rodriguez left a Bronx courthouse ?Saturday afternoon when he was released on $100,000 bail. He was greeted by his wife and by a cheering supportive crowd.

Rodriguez stood in court Saturday in front of a judge who described the condition of the car where those two babies died. The judge said inside the vehicle reached 108 degrees when the twins were inside.

Neighbors told News 12 Rodriguez is a veteran and well respected in the community. They say they hope he does not receive jail time, as losing his children is punishment enough.

"He will be suffering enough," said Tony Caterino of New City. "You know he does not need to serve any jail time and be punished further than what he's already going to be suffering."

Rodriguez's attorney says his client also has children ages 16, 12 and 4.

Rodriguez is due back in court on Aug. 1.

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