A Portland, Oregon, man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son.
According to reports, 30-year-old Joshua Howard was arrested in March 2014 after throwing his then-girlfriend’s son headfirst into the toilet of a motel room. Upon questioning, he told authorities several different stories about what happened.
Initially, Howard claimed he had been giving the boy a shower when he left him alone and heard a thump. He subsequently changed his story, saying that he “tossed or dropped” the boy in the bathroom after becoming upset that he vomited on a bed and was crying.
Ultimately, Howard admitted to dragging the toddler into the bathroom and throwing him headfirst into the toilet, before putting him in a bathtub with cold water in an attempt to revive him.
He told police that he wanted to be charged with murder and given the harshest punishment for what he did, though a plea deal led to him being charged with manslaughter and criminal mistreatment.
The toddler’s injuries included a skull fracture, left jaw fracture, brain swelling, retinal hemorrhages, and bruising in several areas of his body.
The boy’s mother reportedly told police that Howard had a history of violence toward her child, but neglected to report him out of fear that he would become angry and more violent, reported KPTV.
“May you beg God for forgiveness as it will be a lifetime struggle to forgive, if it's at all possible,” Tina Taylor, the aunt of 2-year-old victim Coltin Salsbury, said in court, according to The Oregonian. “And we certainly will never forget."