The man who beat 2-year-old Malakai Garrett to death in 2017 was ordered today to spend 40 years in prison.
Mitchell Vanryn, 28, was convicted in March of aggravated battery and domestic battery, but jurors acquitted him of murder. He had faced up to 135 years behind bars if he had been convicted of each charge.
Malakai, the son of Vanryn's girlfriend, was taken Nov. 29, 2017, to a fire station near the family's Palmetta Court home and then to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The boy suffered gruesome injuries including "shredded" internal organs, a doctor testified at trial.
Indiana's murder statute defines murder as "knowingly or intentionally" killing another person, and Vanryn's attorneys asked jurors to consider whether he meant to kill Malakai.
A sentencing memorandum filed Monday in Allen Superior Court by defense attorney James Hanson says Vanryn "does acknowledge and accept that he is the sole cause of Malakai Garrett's death by means of reckless and inexcusable conduct" but rejects the jury's decision to convict him on the battery charges. He is guilty of reckless homicide, the memorandum states.
Hanson asked Judge Fran Gull for a more lenient sentence.
The toddler's mother, Amber Garrett, 27, is charged with two counts of felony neglect. Her trial is scheduled June 24.