A man who beat his 2-year-old daughter to death last year will spend at least 50 years in prison.
Dana Redding Jr., 24, was sentenced to 100 years, with no time suspended, and a 50-year parole restriction for the single count of deliberate homicide. The state dismissed charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
Judge Blair Jones handed down the sentence in Big Horn County District Court on Tuesday.
The defense and prosecution had jointly recommended 60 years in prison with 10 suspended as part of a joint plea agreement. A judge is not bound by recommendations in plea agreements.
Redding’s 2-year-old daughter died at the Hardin hospital on April 5, 2017. Medical staff told law enforcement the child had suffered a "massive amount of bruising" on her entire body, as well as an open wound on the back of her head, according to charging documents.
Gregory Paskell, Redding’s defense attorney, said Redding's life had been “punctuated by casual violence” from an early age. He’d spent time in various foster homes and was physically abused by multiple adults in his early years, Paskell noted.
Paskell called a clinical psychologist, Dr. William Woolston, of Billings to testify. Woolston said Redding was 7 years old and living in foster care when they met, that Redding was “borderline” intellectually disabled, and that he had told Woolston that growing up he’d often witnessed his mother being beaten.
“Children absorb anger into their bones almost like radioactive material,” the doctor said.
Paskell also called Ella Chavez, Redding’s grandmother, who testified she had taken Redding and his siblings out of foster care and raised them herself for many years. Chavez cried as she told the court that Redding was a kind grandson, quick to help others, and that she didn’t believe he’d killed his daughter.
“I don’t believe it,” she said. “What they say he did — I don’t believe it at all.”
Redding also cried as his grandmother testified.
Redding made a statement, apologizing. He spoke quietly.
“I have failed my family and loved ones,” he said. “There are those out there that won’t ever forgive me, and they shouldn’t have to.”
Before handing down the sentence, the judge said he was sorry for the troubled life Redding had led, but that there was no excuse for killing a child and a lengthy parole restriction was needed to keep the community safe.
“The level of cruelty and brutality that was visited upon this child was unimaginable,” the judge said.
Dozens of people attended the sentencing, including Kevannah Grace George, the mother of the child who was killed. George has been charged with criminal child endangerment. No trial date has been set.