A Florida man has been sentenced to three consecutive life sentences and 495 years in prison after raping a 3-year-old boy in his care and distributing photos and videos of the assault on social media.
Charles Hoyt McConnell III, 22, was found guilty of raping his wife's 3-year-old son repeatedly for two months around December 2016, the Pensacola News Journal reported. He then shared photos and videos of the abuse with other pedophiles on the social media app Kik.
McConnell's wife said during court on Dec. 19 that she found the disturbing images on her husband's phone on Jan. 9. She said she saw his phone lighting up with notifications, and thought the messages might have been work related.
But when she checked her husband's phone, she found communication about the horrifying images. She said there were no faces in the photos, but she recognized particular body parts, including her son's nightlight and pajamas.
The suspect's wife immediately left the house with her son to go to her mother's house. She then called police, and McConnell was arrested that morning.
McConnell admitted to police that he raped the child numerous times. When asked why he did it, he mentioned his own past "personal experiences," but didn't provide any further details. He said it was "like a switch," and told authorities he was going back and forth between doing it or not for a considerable amount of time.
McConnell was found guilty of all 36 counts of child sex-related charges against him. He was also charged with capital sexual battery and obscene material possession. Circuit Judge John Miller sentenced McConnell to three consecutive life sentences, followed by 495 years behind bars.
Two other men -- Jonah Authement and Danny Ray Murphy -- were also arrested for communicating with McConnell about the photos and videos of the abuse. Authement was sentenced to eight years in prison, while Murphy is serving 40 years.
McConnell had also been downloading child pornography through the social media app Kik. He would use the app to communicate with users about photos and videos of other children.
McConnell told authorities he did not personally know the other children, and added that the 3-year-old boy was the only child he had ever raped. He was sentenced on the same day of the trial because a capital felony automatically carries a mandatory life sentence.
The suspect was also designated as a sexual predator, WEAR reported.