GREELEY, Colo. (KDVR) — A jury in Weld County convicted a man of murder and child abuse Tuesday in the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son.
John Melvin White was originally convicted in 2016 of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. He was sentenced to life without parole plus 24 years for the child abuse charge.
Prosecutors say White won a new trial last year based on a legal technicality, but on Tuesday, a jury delivered the same result.
And this time, the punishment was even harsher. A judge sentenced White to life without parole plus 48 years, which is the maximum for the child abuse charge.
“Twenty-four people from our community have now confirmed what we’ve always believed was true. That this defendant killed Mikey and that this was not an accident,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wrenn said at the sentencing hearing, according to the Weld County District Attorney’s Office.
Boy suffered injuries all over his body
Investigators said White, 34, was a methamphetamine user who inflicted injuries on Michael Lara Jr. while babysitting the boy. According to the police report, White said the family’s dog knocked the boy over and he hit his head.
But medical experts testified the boy had bruises to his back and both sides of his head, burns to his lips and neck caused by a hairdryer, and an injury to his penis.
It’s a case the FOX31 Problem Solvers have followed because the toddler’s father said child protection services didn’t investigate a suspicious bruise on his son’s chest.
The office of the Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman has said Weld County should have investigated the father’s referral, a finding Weld County said it disagrees with.