Standing shackled before a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge Monday, Troy Semenovich tearfully described 3-year-old Kaycie Bork as "an angel and a ray of sunshine to everyone."
But the words rang hollow for members of the girl's family who sat in court to watch as her killer was sentenced to prison.
Semenovich, 26, of 907 Homer Ave., pleaded no contest April 20 to murder for causing the death of his former live-in girlfriend's daughter. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
"A 3-year-old should know nothing but love and nurturing," Kaycie's paternal great-uncle, Dennis Ahrendt, told Judge Denise Ann Dartt at the sentencing. "We all have choices to make, and his choice was to viciously torture and kill an innocent 3-year-old."
Kaycie died Oct. 24 at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, four days after being brought there with head injuries. She had bruising on most of her body and blunt-force injuries to her head, authorities said.
Hospital staff was initially told the girl had fallen while in the care of a baby-sitter. Semenovich later told police he had pushed her into a stove. But Kaycie's injuries were what doctors and prosecutors described as a "massive assault."
Yesterday, Assistant County Prosecutor Jeff Lingo acknowledged Judge Dartt had no discretion in her sentence. He said the only hope is that no other child would have to endure the beatings that killed Kaycie.
"We need to send a message out that we cannot allow children to be treated this way in Lucas County or anywhere else," Mr. Lingo said.
The child's mother, Mallissa Lusk, 27, also of the Homer Avenue address, admitted April 16 to her role in the events that led to Kaycie's death. She pleaded guilty to one count each of involuntary manslaughter and endangering children. Because the possible sentences would merge, she faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced May 18.
The mother of six children, including a son with Semenovich, Lusk admitted in court she knew Semenovich was responsible for abuse inflicted on her children.
She acknowledged seeing numerous bruises on Kaycie's body, saying she never questioned them but instead accepted excuses.
The prosecutor's office will recommend up to five years in prison for Lusk.
Judge Dartt referred Lusk to the Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center for an evaluation.
Her children are in the custody of relatives.
Attorney Matt Fech said Semen-
ovich showed "genuine remorse" for what occurred and, from the onset, was "willing to acknowledge what he did." Mr. Fech noted Kaycie's death was not intentional but conceded that the distinction did not lessen the tragedy.
Reading a handwritten statement that he had prepared, Semenovich apologized to Kaycie's family, saying that he prayed that he would one day be forgiven.
"What happened was a tragic incident that I cannot justify," he said.
Contact Erica Blake at: