A Minnesota man who said he smacked his girlfriend’s toddler son in the face with a flip-flop “no more than five times” was sentenced to 40 years behind bars for the boy’s beating death.
The Star Tribune reported Thursday that Quran J. Mitchell, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges in connection with Joshua Isaiah Lockhart Jr.’s death. An autopsy report said the 2-year-old suffered head and eye injuries and had bruises on his ear, forehead, cheek, shoulder, and left arm.
WCCO reported that police found the boy not breathing on the night of February 11. He died from his injuries the following day.
Prosecutors argued that Mitchell had been abusing the child since moving in to the home three months earlier. Though Mitchell admitted to police that he had struck the boy in the face on numerous occasions, Mitchell claimed he made sure he wasn’t hitting him too hard, the Tribune reported.
Meanwhile, a couple who rented space in the same Crystal home told officers that they heard loud sounds coming from the bedroom and a child crying but didn’t call police, according to WCCO.
The victim’s family also claimed that King and Mitchell had known each other since they were teens and had started dating seven months before the toddler’s murder.
State records obtained by the Tribune revealed that Child Protective Services (CPS) had never investigated the boy’s mother, Ashley King, or his father, Joshua Lockhart Sr.
Records also indicated that Mitchell was on probation at the time and, less than 30 days before the toddler’s death, he was sentenced to 90 days in a workhouse for a misdemeanor domestic assault conviction. However, it appears that a judge set aside the sentence for reasons unknown.
The 22-year-old was also convicted of disorderly conduct for his role in a November 2015 fight, the newspaper noted.
By pleading guilty, prosecutors dismissed a first-degree murder charge that Mitchell was facing. Accounting for time served, the Minnesota man will serve 26 years in prison before serving the rest of his sentence under supervised release.
[Featured Image: Joshua Isaiah Lockhart Jr./Crystal Police Department]