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Death of 5-year-old boy yields 38-year sentence

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A judge has sentenced a Milwaukee man to 38 years in prison for the beating death of his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son.

Darrell L. Rogers, 26, rambled for about 30 minutes at his sentencing Friday before the judge cut him off, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. He eventually admitted striking Damion Davis in the chest as punishment for a bad school report last November, but denied causing the severe head injuries that contributed to his death.

“Perhaps you can’t even admit to yourself what you did,” said Circuit Judge Stephanie Rothstein, who found Rogers guilty of first-degree reckless homicide last month.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Williams said Rogers beat Damion “literally from head to almost toe. This wasn’t a shake or two to a baby, or an accidental punch that causes death. This was brutal beating over time.”

Damion suffered injuries to his lungs, liver and spleen and had been strangled as well, Williams said. Rogers slammed the boy’s head into the shower wall so hard it broke a tile, the prosecutor said.

The sentence Rothstein handed down of 38 years in prison and 15 years of extended supervision was more than the prosecutor recommended.

The boy’s relatives attending the hearing erupted in applause until the judge admonished them, “This is not a joyous occasion, and it’s not a theater.”

Damion’s grandmother, Gwendolyn Davis, tried to make a statement to Rothstein but had to be helped out of the courtroom after she broke down in loud sobs and muffled screams.

The boy’s father, Nathaniel Davis, spoke at length about his loss, and his anger at Rogers. He said Damion was smart and athletic and could have been president, a judge or an astronaut.

Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com

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