UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — After calling the terms “evil’’ and “heinous” an understatement in describing the beating death of a two-month-old, a judge handed down a maximum sentence to the child’s father Thursday.
“I don’t think there’s any case that’s disturbed me to the core as much as this one,” said Judge Michael Pearson, before sentencing Antoine Petty to 40 years in prison.
Guidelines had called for between 15 and 25 years. Petty, now 33, had pleaded guilty in August to one count of first-degree child abuse resulting in death.
In September of 2016, Petty repeatedly hit the infant because he would not stop crying. When the child stopped breathing, Petty and the boy’s mother placed his body in a car, and drove around with it in the car the next day before burying it in a shallow grave in Riverdale.
The baby was found about one month later.
“He was killed by the two people who were supposed to protect him,” said prosecutor Artemis Moutsatsos, who displayed a picture of the child’s skeletal remains on a projector screen. That image remained up for most of the sentencing hearing.
“He was literally a defenseless baby,” said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks outside the courthouse. “Even today … there was not a single person in the courtroom who was willing to speak for this baby, except the prosecutor in this case.”
In court, defense lawyer Douglas Irminger argued that Petty was remorseful and accepted responsibility when questioned by police, noting that Petty led officers to the burial site. He said Petty suffers from a psychological disorder and substance abuse issues.
Speaking before his sentencing, Petty said he never intended to kill his son, and that he should have called 911 when he saw the boy was having trouble breathing. He said there was “no excuse” for what he did, while also asking for leniency.
The baby’s mother, Geneice Petty, has pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and is awaiting sentencing. She faces up to 10 years in prison.
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