NEWTON, N.C. - A man accused of killing a 20-month-old boy in Catawba County has been found guilty and sentenced by a judge.
William Lail, 30, was convicted on Tuesday of second-degree murder in the 2013 death of Jaydon Sandlin.
Channel 9 was told that the jury deliberated for three days before delivering the verdict.
Police said Lail was watching Jaydon at the time of the murder, and warrants showed that the toddler had scalding burns.
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Earlier this year, the child’s mother, Whitney Weathers, pleaded guilty to child abuse charges.
Prosecutors and a defense attorney described what they believe happened inside the apartment where the 20-month-old died and his 3-year-old sister was badly injured.
"This is Jaydon Sandlin," prosecutor Jamie Adams told the jury, while holding a photo of the child.
It has been more than four years since the baby boy died in an apartment in Long View.
William Lail was watching Jaydon, along with his sister, while their mother worked.
Prosecutors said the children's mother spotted warning signs in the weeks leading up to his death.
"She noticed that the children were severely burned,” Adams said. “Second- and third-degree burns.”
She asked the defendant what happened to them, and he told her a couple of different stories about how they had been burned, according to police.
Police said Weathers should have done more to keep her children safe instead of letting her boyfriend, Lail, care for the children.
"She will admit to you that both of them left the kids home alone,” Adams said. “They locked them in closets, dark closets."
Lail was charged with first-degree murder in the case, but his attorney said what happened was not murder.
Defense attorney Vicki Jayne said it was negligence by someone unwilling to take responsibility for what happened.
"Mr. Lail, Billy, was negligent, careless and inattentive, and because of that, Jaydon drowned in a bathtub that day," Jayne said.
The judge sentenced Lail to an active prison term of 17 to 22 years for second-degree murder and felony child abuse, with an additional 300 days to be served at the conclusion of that period for the nonfelonious child abuse charges.
Court officials said his prison term will be served in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.
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