A man who fatally beat his girlfriend's 2-year-old early this year after abusing the boy for two months has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Quran J. Mitchell, 22, was sentenced Thursday in Hennepin County District Court after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the death of Joshua Isaiah Lockhart Jr. on Feb. 12. A first-degree murder count was dismissed as part of the plea deal reached last month.
An autopsy disclosed that the boy had head and eye injuries and bruises on his left arm, shoulder, ear, cheek and forehead.
With credit for time in jail since his arrest, Mitchell will serve the first 26 or so years in prison and the balance on supervised release.
Mitchell was on probation at the time he beat Joshua in the house in the 3400 block of Adair Avenue, in Crystal, where he rented space. Less than 30 days before Joshua's death, Mitchell had been sentenced to 90 days in the workhouse on a misdemeanor domestic assault conviction, but that incarceration was set aside by Hennepin County Judge Bruce Peterson.
Mitchell also has a misdemeanor disorderly conduct conviction stemming from his involvement in a fight in November 2015.
A search of state court records soon after the boy died revealed no child protection investigations involving the mother, Ashley King, or the boy's father, Joshua Lockhart Sr.
On the night of Feb. 11, when Joshua was taken to a hospital, doctors determined that the boy's injuries were "all indicative of child abuse," read a statement from the county attorney's office issued upon Mitchell being charged.
Mitchell had been beating the boy since the three moved in two months earlier, according to the prosecution.
He told police that he had hit the boy numerous times, sometimes on the face with a flip-flop "no more than five times," the complaint continued, but Mitchell noted that he made sure he didn't hit the child too hard.