A man charged in the apparent starvation death of a 2-year-old boy pleaded guilty to manslaughter and child neglect
shortly before his trial was to begin in Pike County Circuit Court.
Judge David Strong sentenced Thomas Kelly on Tuesday to the maximum 10 years in prison with a $1,000 fin
e on the felonious child neglect charge, but withheld sentencing on manslaughter until the case of Kelly’s co-defendant is resolved, according to the Enteprise-Journal.
Kimberly Hood’s trial is scheduled for Sept. 20.
Assistant District Attorney Rodney Tidwell read a statement by Kelly in which he said Markqice was always a “skinny” child. He said he never saw Kimberly abuse Markqice, but she did discipline him with hand and belt.
A family member called the Department of Human Services, whose case worker determined Markqice was naturally small for his age, according to Kelly’s statement.
Kelly said one morning the child appeared to be sick, and he suggested Hood take Markqice to the hospital but she refused, saying she might be accused of abuse.
“I think the statement shows he allowed this to go on. The mother didn’t give adequate food to the child. He knew about it. He didn’t report
,” Tidwell said.
Defense attorney Bill Goodwin said he had been trying to convince Kelly to plead guilty for his own good. Prosecutors had said they would seek the death penalty if the case went to trial.
“Thomas did the right thing,” Goodwin said. “He pled to what he was guilty of.”