A Minneapolis man who fatally punched his 4-month-old daughter in August was sentenced Friday to more than 25 years in prison, the Hennepin County attorney's office announced.

Judge Kerry Meyer rejected the defense claim that Cory Morris, 22, did not know what he was doing when he fatally beat Emersyn Morris because of mental illness. In April, Morris was found guilty of killing Emersyn, but the question of whether he was legally responsible in her death remained.

"The judge had to weigh the testimony of two competing psychologists and came down on the side of the one who testified that Morris knew he was beating his daughter to death and he knew that it was wrong," according to a news release from the attorney's office.

Prosecutors had sought the maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, while Morris' attorney asked for probation for his client. Meyer rejected both arguments, instead imposing the 25-year sentence recommended by state sentencing guidelines.

According to the criminal complaint, while Morris was caring for Emersyn on Aug. 13, 2016, he punched her nearly two dozen times as she lay on her bedroom changing table. When he called the girl's mother and his mother to tell them what he had done, they told him to call 911. Despite paramedics' efforts to save Emersyn, she died at Hennepin County Medical Center from blunt-force trauma, according to the county attorney.

During Friday's sentencing hearing, Senior Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Amy Sweasy argued that "every father convicted of the identical crime in the past three years has been sentenced to 40 years in prison," according to the news release.

Sweasy said a higher sentence was justified because "Morris abused his position of authority as her father, her young age made her vulnerable and the way he killed her was done with particular cruelty," according to the release.

Morris' attorney had argued that both doctors testified that he was suffering from active symptoms of mental illness at the time of the murder and that he had a history of mental illness.

Family members said last August that although they'd long been trying to get Morris psychological help, he had never showed violent tendencies, and it was typical for him to watch the baby on his own.

Karen Zamora • 612-673-4647

Twitter: @KarenAnelZamora