Kansas City man sentenced to 32 years in prison for toddler's beating death

Sunday, November 18, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A man who tried to cover up the death of his 18-month-old stepson with a staged car crash was sentenced Friday to 32 years in prison.

Charles Mahone, 40, was convicted last month of second-degree murder and two counts each of child abuse and child endangerment in the June 2006 death of Aaron Marshall.

He continued to maintain his innocence before the sentence was imposed.

"I understand your anger," he told the crowd in the gallery, which included family members and friends of the toddler. "I apologize not because I'm guilty of what the prosecutors say I did, but because I hurt as well."

"I did not murder Aaron," he said.

Mahone has said that the toddler died after a vehicle forced his car off the road.

But the car suffered minimal damage, and there were no skid marks to indicate Mahone had tried to stop before hitting a small tree. Emergency workers said the child was cold to the touch.

A search of Mahone's house found blood in several locations, and a medical examiner determined Aaron had died of blunt force trauma and asphyxiation.

Assistant prosecutor Dan Miller called the toddler's death torture, noting Friday that the boy was beaten on "almost every inch of his body."

Circuit Judge John Torrence said that he heard the evidence and that "there's no doubt in my mind what happened."

Torrence called it "the meaningless, unnecessary and incomprehensible death by torture of a little boy."

"He was a defenseless little boy who looked up to you," Torrence said.

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