A Salina man who was found guilty of felony murder earlier this spring in connection with the child abuse death of a child was sentenced Wednesday afternoon to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 20 years.
Back in May a jury found 28-year-old Troy Love guilty of felony murder and child abuse.
The case stems from the April, 2012, death of 18-month-old Bre’Elle Jefferson. After being found unresponsive, Bre’Elle was taken to Salina Regional Health Center on the afternoon of April 9th. She was transferred to a Wichita hospital, where she died a day later on April 10th.
Love was the boyfriend of Bre’Elle’s mother Robin Harrington at the time.
During the trial, which lasted about a week and a half, jurors were told that Bre’Elle suffered numerous injuries over a period of time including fractured ribs and vertebrae, and bruised buttocks. She also had swollen eyes and missing hair. During the time period Love was the primary care giver for Bre’Elle as her mother Robin Harrington recovered from a back injury.
Harrington was too emotional to speak on Wednesday. Instead, she handed prosecutor Christina Trocheck a statement to read.
Harrington wept as Trocheck spoke. In her statement Harrington wrote that she keeps thinking “this a bad dream”, but she knows it’s not.
She wrote that she can’t believe that Bre’Elle is gone, or that Love “can be such a monster”. “Bre’Elle was such a beautiful baby girl. She was smart and loving, sweet and giving. You killed her.”
Harrington wrote that Love was a “coward who bullied a helpless child”. She added that the fear Bre’Elle must have lived with everyday must have been terrible.
Harrington reflected about things that have been taken away. Things like Bre’Elle’s first day of school, seeing her face at Christmas, blowing out the candles on her birthday cake, helping her get ready for her first date, going to prom, and watching her get married.
Harrington concluded that she was blessed for having the chance of knowing, and loving, Bre’Elle.
Troy Love chose not to make a statement.
Judge Patrick Thompson said Bre’Elle was a small, defenseless child, who had no way to protect herself. He noted her injuries, pointing out a “horrific vertebrae fracture” that was “the worst this court has ever seen”.
Thompson sentenced love to the maximum he could. For the murder charge he sentenced Love to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 20 years. For the child abuse charge he sentenced Love to 55 months in prison. The sentences are to run consecutively.
Love was also sentenced to pay $7,072.58 restitution. The judge said that Love could work while in prison to earn money to pay the restitution. He added that “you are young enough that it’s possible you might one day be released” and said Love could then continue to work to earn money to pay the restitution.