A man caught suffocating and beating his 18-month-old stepson to the verge of death in more than 100 videos documenting the abuse has been sentenced to 64 years in prison.
Christopher Keller from Indiana pleaded guilty to four charges of aggravated battery against his ex-wife’s toddler, and prosecutors urged the judge to hand out the maximum sentence for his “torturous acts”.
“Maximum sentences are to be reserved for the worst of the worst offenders, and the torturous acts that the court witnessed on the video today are the worst of the worst,” chief deputy prosecuting attorney Blaine Goode told the judge.
The child’s mother first discovered the abuse when she returned from work to find her son covered in bruises and missing chunks of hair, after leaving him in Keller’s care.
She rushed him to a children’s hospital in Indianapolis for treatment, where doctors discovered six compression fractures to his spine.
Shortly after Keller, 36, was arrested the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department said officers were contacted by a woman claiming to have an SD card with videos from a security camera showing Keller abusing the toddler.
Court documents revealed the footage showed Keller preventing the boy from breathing for approximately 40 seconds and forcing the child’s head into the couch while placing much of his body weight on him. The footage shows “the child’s body writhing in an attempt to breathe”.
Other videos, which amounted to 11 hours of abuse, showed Keller hitting, kicking and tackling the child, dragging him by his hair and dangling him upside down by one leg, the court documents revealed.
It was “one of the worst documented cases of child abuse” ever seen in the county, a statement from Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office said.
“The video, though extremely difficult to watch, documents the multiple instances of abuse over a more than 11 hour period,” said prosecutor David Sutter.
“The investigators and witnesses who assisted in this case and stepped forward on behalf of this child are the true heroes … their efforts resulted in protecting this child from further harm and helped to make sure Mr Keller can’t hurt children ever again.”
Keller, from Madison, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for each charge, to be served consecutively.
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