A Calhoun Falls man will spend much of the next four decades behind bars after being convicted Thursday of killing an infant girl.
Shawn Patrick White, 31, of 831 Anderson St., stood trial in Abbeville this week in the death of 10-month-old Emily LaBounty, who died in August 2012 after a brutal beating. The three-day trial concluded Thursday afternoon with a jury finding him guilty of homicide by child abuse in the baby girl's death. The count carried a range of 20 years to life in prison, and Circuit Court Judge Donald B. Hocker issued the man a 40-year prison term following the verdict.
Officials in Calhoun Falls said the LaBounty's death marked the town's first homicide in nearly a decade when it occurred. The incident took place about three weeks into J.T. Galloway's tenure as the town police chief.
"I think justice was served," he said. "It doesn't bring the baby back, but I think it starts the closure and the healing process for the family, and that's the important thing."
Thursday's proceeding s began with closing arguments from both sides. The jury then deliberated nearly two hours before returning its verdict. Hocker credited the defendant for the 491 days he's served in county lockup since being arrested in September 2012.
Eighth Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo, who helped argue the case for the state as the lead prosecutor, beckoned the judge for the maximum life sentence. He noted had the charge been murder, he would have sought a death penalty in the case.
"This was about as horrific as we're ever going to see, in our opinion," he said afterward. "We definitely believe the sentence when you kill a child should be life."
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