A Maryland man was sentenced to 40 years in prison after committing a crime a judge could only describe as “mind boggling.”
Defense attorney Margaret Teahan tried to portray Raymond Matthew Brittle, 40, as a troubled alcoholic whose bottled-up rage against his own father finally got the best of him. The judge wasn’t buying it.
Brittle was convicted in the death of 2-year-old Robert Watkins. Brittle allegedly whipped the toddler with a belt, kicked him, shook him, slammed him against kitchen cabinets and forced him to brush his teeth with a steel barbecue brush. He did this because the boy refused to eat, according to State’s Attorney J. Charles Smith.
“This has to be one of the most horrendous, if not the most horrendous case of child abuse I’ve ever seen,” Frederick County Circuit Judge G. Edward Dwyer told Yahoo! News. “This is just mind-boggling.”
During sentencing, Dwyer cited statements from Brittle’s son who claimed his father started abusing the child weekly after the toddler moved into their home.
Watkins died from devastating brain injuries, police said. At that point, Brittle was reportedly beating him at least once a day.
The victim’s mother had put the boy in Brittle’s care. She considered Brittle to be like a stepfather to her, Yahoo! News reports.
The woman’s stepmother, Jennifer Ann Ward, cried and begged for the court to give Brittle the maximum sentence. She addressed the 6-foot-1, 260-pound abuser, who was also crying, and told him, “I pray in prison there is a bully bigger and badder than you.”
Both Brittle and his wife Melissa pleaded guilty last year to first-degree child abuse resulting in death. Brittle also pleaded guilty to second-degree child abuse. Melissa was sentenced to 20 years for allowing the abuse to take place.
Brittle will have to serve at least half of his prison sentence before he is eligible for release and will undergo five years of supervised probation.