The father found living in a shed at a Lakeside home with his 9-year-old daughter showed no remorse and told 10News in an exclusive interview that he believes it was the right decision.
Last week, sheriff's deputies found 60-year-old Joe Tavolazzi Jr., his daughter and his 29-year-old girlfriend Kimberly Bradeen living in a shed with drugs and guns.
Tavolazzi, Bradeen and six other adults were arrested on April 7 during a raid at a property on the 12700 block of Lindo Lane in Lakeside.
Team 10 found out sheriff's deputies responded to 19 complaints against the Lakeside home in the last two years.
From his jail cell, Tavolazzi told 10News that the home was like a "flop house" where anyone can crash in tents and sheds in the back.
"If I went and knocked on that door, and there was no one there, I could stay the night or whatever," said Tavolazzi.
Tavolazzi called the day of the raid a case of "wrong place, wrong time."
"They just came in, put handcuffs on us and took us out to the front yard," Tavolazzi added.
In court on Monday, Tavolazzi pleaded not guilty to drug, weapons and child endangerment charges.
While the conditions Tavolazzi and his daughter were living in weren't ideal, he told 10News the choice was simple -- live in the shed or live on the streets.
"It was either that or live in my truck, and I didn't have the money to go and get a hotel for the night," Tavolazzi said.
Tavolazzi said he let his daughter make the final decision on where they would stay.
"I wouldn't want her going to be thinking she was in danger or thinking something was going to happen … I've always taught her to voice her opinion. Don't be afraid to say, 'No, I don't want to stay here,'" said Tavolazzi.
Tavolazzi admitted he used meth that day, and he said the drugs found in the shed were his.
However, the guns were not his and not in working order, he added.
Tavolazzi faces 14 years in prison if convicted. He is not allowed to have any contact with his daughter.
He remains jailed on $200,000 bail and is scheduled for another court appearance on April 20.
"I love her dearly, and I know she loves me too And it'd be a crying shame if I had to do 14 years because I'd never see her again," Tavolazzi said.
Tavolazzi said his daughter was living with her mother's parents until last month, but he claims they did not want her anymore and were going to turn her over to Child Protective Services.
CPS took Tavolazzi's daughter after his arrest.