Connecticut man Morice Wilkerson, 26, will spend eight years in prison after he broke his 4-month-old daughter’s arms and legs.
Wilkerson inflicted the injuries to his daughter in December 2012. When Wilkerson’s mother went to pick the girl up, she noticed that the girl’s right leg was swollen to twice its size, CT News reported. Wilkerson and his wife then took their daughter to the hospital by his mother’s request where it was determined that she had breaks in her left leg and both arms. There was also evidence of her ribs being previously broken.
Wilkerson and his wife could not explain to doctors how the breaks had happened, though they said that the injuries could have been caused by vaccinations or the girl rolling over in bed, according to trial testimony.
Medical experts were called as witnesses at the trial, and they agreed that the girl's injuries were consistent with severe child abuse, according to CT News.
In court, Wilkerson testified that he was the primary caretaker of the girl. He became defensive when someone else held her.
“This was unconscionable conduct on behalf of a defendant who has never taken responsibility for his actions,” Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Margaret Kelley said.
In his defense, Wilkerson argued that he loved his family.
“I love my family and I would never do anything to hurt them. To be convicted of something that is impossible for me to ever do hurts me,” Wilkerson said on Wednesday. “To my family I am just a big Teddy Bear.”
Superior Court Judge Maria Kahn noted that Wilkerson was either “evil or monstrous or very ill.”
"This crime was horrific because it happened to a victim who was truly helpless," she added.
Kahn suggested to Wilkerson's wife, who wept in the back of the court room during the trial, that love of a child should take priority over the love of a partner.
Though Wilkerson was sentenced to 10 years in prison, he’ll be suspended after eight. He will then serve five years of probation.
The little girl, who is now 3 years old, is in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, NBC Connecticut reported. She is currently being adopted.
Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Correction