After lamenting that a 2-year-old girl might have lived had she received medical attention, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Charles Doneghy sentenced the Toledo man accused of beating her to nine years in prison yesterday.
Terrance Whiting, 23, had been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Katrina Johnson, who suffered a blow that was so severe, it caused lacerations to her liver.
"This dead child had received these in-
juries about 12 hours before any help was summoned," Judge Doneghy said. "This child, despite the injuries, could have lived if help had just been summoned."
Paramedics found the toddler dead about 11 a.m. on Feb. 4 in an upstairs bedroom at 132 Batavia St., where Whiting lived with Katrina's mother, Catrina Brown.
Whiting, who had faced a possible three to 10-year sentence, told police that Katrina was not hurt when he put her to bed the night before, and that neither he nor Ms. Brown had assaulted the child.
Whiting had been standing trial for murder before entering a plea to involuntary manslaughter when prosecutors found Ms. Brown hadn't been truthful with police. She had been expected to testify at Whiting's trial.
Prosecutors rescinded a deal they had struck with her and she entered guilty pleas yesterday to child endangering and obstruction of justice. She faces up to six years in prison when she is sentenced Sept. 8.
Gary Cook, an assistant county prosecutor, said Brown's action's hurt the case against Whiting.
"It affected the case quite a bit because the guy ended up getting an involuntary manslaughter charge instead of murder," he said.
David Klucas, Whiting's attorney, told Judge Doneghy that it was impossible to know the truth of how Katrina was injured because of Brown's changing stories.
"The co-defendant in this case gave numerous statements - all of which were different and demonstrably untrue," he said.
He said his client was remorseful because he knew Brown was "a bad mother" but he did nothing to help the girl.
Whiting gave a brief apology to the court before he was sentenced.
Joan Coleman, head of the county's victims-witness program, read a statement from Katrina's father who said he couldn't attend the hearing because he didn't want to be in the same room with Whiting.
"It is important you know this baby was loved," Amos Williams wrote in his statement. "My family and I really loved her. It is still so difficult to think a grown man would do this to a child. I was supposed to protect her and all because I believed the baby's mother when she said she was OK. I was not there. How could this happen?"