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Khemchan Sulaiman sentenced to 16 years for trying to kill young daughter

Khemchan Sulaiman, on Thursday, April 24, 2014, leaves

Khemchan Sulaiman, on Thursday, April 24, 2014, leaves the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola after he was sentenced by Nassau County Court Judge Christopher Quinn to 16 years in prison. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Queens man with a history of domestic violence was sentenced to 16 years in prison Thursday for trying to kill his 2-year-old daughter by feeding her a chemical compound used in fire extinguishers.

Khemchan Sulaiman, 48, who police said tried to kill himself as well, declined an invitation from Nassau County Court Supervising Judge Christopher Quinn to address the court before he was sentenced to 16 years on a second-degree attempted murder conviction, 5 years on first- and second-degree assault charges and 1 to 3 years on aggravated criminal contempt charges.

Sulaiman, who worked as an MTA bus maintainer at the time of his arrest, pleaded guilty to the charges last month. The sentences are concurrent.

"The crimes in this case are shocking -- especially given that the victim was a young child that was completely unable to protect itself," District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement.

The lengthy sentence ensures that Sulaiman "will be in prison for a long time, where he will no longer be a danger to innocents," Rice said.

Months before Sulaiman tried to poison his young daughter on Oct. 3, 2011, he had violated an order of protection by punching and kicking the child's mother as she held the toddler, the Queens district attorney's office said at the time.

Sulaiman later pleaded guilty to criminal contempt for that offense and was ordered to attend a batterer's intervention program, according to the Queens district attorney's office. But Nassau police suspected at the time that the couple's contentious breakup spurred him to try to kill his daughter and himself behind a Lawrence shopping mall.

A passerby discovered Sulaiman and his daughter unconscious and in respiratory distress in a parked car behind the mall.

Investigators believe the toddler had ingested ammonium chloride, a compound commonly found in fire extinguishers, from a baby bottle recovered from Sulaiman's Toyota Venza. That substance and a pesticide that can cause convulsions, seizures and respiratory distress were found in the car.

Sulaiman was arraigned at St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway before he was released. His daughter was hospitalized for three days.

After Thursday's hearing, Sulaiman's Mineola lawyer, Kenneth St. Bernard, declined to comment on his client's sentence but wished the best for the girl.

"We're happy that his daughter is fine," St. Bernard said.

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