A southern New Jersey man convicted of fatally smothering a young girl while he sexually assaulted her has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The South Jersey Times reports Latimer Byrdsell also got a 27-year sentence that will run consecutive to the life term he received Friday. A Cumberland County jury had found the 30-year-old Millville man guilty of felony murder, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault in the July 2006 death of 3-year-old A'brianna Thomas.
Defense attorneys had sought a lesser sentence, saying Byrdsell had not intended to kill the child. But the judge rejected those claims, saying Byrdsell knew the girl "was very, very vulnerable.''
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Authorities have said Byrdsell was babysitting the child at the time the attack occurred.