Roger Bryson, 58, said he was sorry to the family of 2-month-old Jaylin Chavis.
Eyewitness News was in court Monday as Bryson was sentenced to 18 months in prison for accidentally killing the baby last spring.
Prosecutors said Bryson had three vodka drinks on the night of May 6, 2012. He was watching TV at his Rock Hill home and caring for the infant, who was his girlfriend's granddaughter.
Prosecutors said during the night, Bryson placed the baby behind him on the love seat against the cushion. At some point he fell asleep, leaning back on her and suffocating her. The coroner said she died of positional asphyxiation.
Deputy solicitor Willy Thompson said Monday that no one believed it was a deliberate act.
"He did something that was reckless and foolish, putting that baby behind him in such a confined space, especially a child that only weighed 9 pounds," Thompson said in court.
Two-month-old Jaylin's low weight was partly because she was born to a mother who was using drugs. The child's mother, Caitlin Chavis, lost the baby to DSS, and her grandmother took over care for the child. She and Bryson were caring for the baby at their home on Willowbrook Avenue when the incident happened.
In court, the baby's father, Jason Scott, said Bryson had never showed any remorse for what happened.
"I think he was more sorry for himself than for what he did to my daughter," Scott told Channel 9 following the sentencing.
Bryson took an Alford plea, which means he does not admit to the crime, but admits that prosecutors could likely prove his guilt in court. It is still considered a guilty plea.
Bryson could've spent 10 years in prison for unlawful conduct toward a child, which he was originally charged with. However, prosecutors allowed him to plead to first-degree assault and battery, and they asked for a cap of five years on his possible sentence.
The judge sentenced Bryson to 18 months in prison and then a one year probation.
Scott said he's happy with the sentence, because he was worried that Bryson wouldn't serve any prison time at all. He said Bryson needed to be punished.
"If you're drinking, you should never have my baby in the first place. You should never have my baby sleeping in a chair," he said.
Bryson's criminal history also was instrumental in the judge's order that he undergo drug and alcohol counseling.
Bryson has been convicted of drunken driving, possession of crack cocaine, domestic violence, disorderly conduct, assault and battery, and other crimes.
In court several friends told the judge that Bryson was remorseful for what happened, and had often cried about it.