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Teenage Decatur father who tortured his baby daughter gets 10 year prison sentence


DECATUR — Jamonta R. Blythe, the teenage Decatur father who tortured his 10-week-old baby daughter by inflicting second-degree burns with a heated metal pipe, was sent to prison for 10 years on Monday.

Blythe, 18 at the time of the offenses in October 2018 and now aged 19, was convicted by a jury in July of aggravated battery, a Class X felony.

The penalty range open to Macon County Circuit Judge R.C. Bollinger ranged from 6 to 30 years and Assistant State’s Attorney Regan Radtke argued for a 20-year prison sentence.

She described the injuries inflicted on the baby, detailed in a sworn Decatur police affidavit as burns to the girl’s right eyelid, right neck and left arm and pinch-marks and abrasions elsewhere on her body, as “heinous.”

Radtke added: “Although it is understandable that a new parent would become frustrated with a child, it is not an acceptable solution in this county — or anywhere in this country — to light a metal pipe and press that to the skin of a 10-week-old baby.”

Radtke said the sentence should reflect both an adequate punishment for Blythe and serve as a deterrent to others tempted to commit similar crimes.

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Defense attorney Michelle Sanders told the court that a 20-year sentence was unjust and too severe for Blythe, who has no “history of delinquency or prior criminal activity.”

Sanders told Bollinger that nothing could justify what was done to the baby, but the court should consider the frustration faced by a young parent who lacked education and never completed the 10th grade. “He is someone who has not developed the coping skills and educational skills that are necessary to understand how to handle a crying baby,” Sanders said.

Bollinger said he had considered all aspects of the case, and acknowledged Blythe’s clean record and lack of schooling. He said the 20 years asked for by the prosecution was more than was needed to punish the crime and warn off others.

“The court feels a 10-year sentence to the Department of Corrections is appropriate and sends a message to the community… that these types of crimes will not be tolerated…” the judge added.

Bollinger said the sentence must be served at 85 percent and Blythe must also register as a violent offender against youth.

The baby, whose mother was aged 17 at the time of its birth, was taken into the care of the Department of Children and Family Services.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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