Atelia Hunt (Source: Marlboro County Detention Center)
Mike Huckabee, Jr. (Source: Bennettsville Police)
BENNETTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - The jury in the Mike Huckabee Jr. trial had ended deliberations and entered a verdict, deeming Huckabee guilty of homicide by child abuse in the death of a three-year-old girl.
Closing arguments began on Friday in the trial of Mike Huckabee Jr., the man charged with homicide by child abuse in the death of Edna Hunt.
The jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning the verdict, and finding him guilty of all charges. He was sentenced immediately.
Kernard Redmond, Deputy Solicitor in the Fourth Circuit Solicitor's Office says Huckabee was sentenced to life in prison for homicide by child abuse, life in prison for criminal sexual conduct with a minor, 20 years for inflicting great bodily injury upon a child and 10 years for unlawful conduct toward a child.
Atelia Hunt, mother of three-year-old Edna Hunt of Bennettsville, took the stand to testify against Mike Huckabee Jr. He was Atelia's boyfriend in 2011, when they were both charged with homicide by child abuse in Edna Hunt's untimely death.
Atelia Hunt was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her daughter's death in October 2011. Edna Hunt's death was due to "unusual complications of a urinary tract infection, which was left untreated" as well as parent/guardian neglect and multiple inflicted traumas, according to the Marlboro County Coroner's office.
Hunt said she still holds Huckabee responsible for the abuse. She takes responsibility for the lack of action that caused the death of her child, and said Huckabee was very controlling. Hunt said she was working under fear and a controlling Huckabee. She had no previous criminal record.
Hunt spent much of her day on the stand telling the jury how she said Huckabee abused her daughter.
"He would sit there and grab her by both the ankles and she'd be standing there and he'd be separating her legs trying to make her do a split," Hunt said.
Hunt also said Huckabee shaved her daughter's head before she died to look at sores Hunt said Huckabee left on her by hitting the top of her head.
For a short time before Edna Hunt's death, Atelia Hunt said her daughter moved out of their house to stay with family members. That is when Hunt said Huckabee's attitude changed.
"He didn't want me to leave the house he wanted me there, he wanted to know exactly what I was doing and where I was at," Hunt added.
Hunt said eventually she picked up Edna to bring her back to live at Huckabee's house, but Hunt said her daughter did not want to come back.
"She did not want to go she was fighting me because she did not want to leave," added Hunt.
Edna Hunt's grandfather (the father of the girl's biological father) took the stand during Atelia's trial and said that no matter what happens, grief and hurt will go on.
Edna Hunt's death ruled a homicide
In December 2011, the Marlboro County Coroner's Office officially ruled the death as a homicide after autopsy results were returned.
On Oct. 6, 2011 officers with the Bennettsville Police Department responded to the Marlboro Park Hospital where Edna died.
Lt. Larry Turner with the Bennettsville Police Department said Edna had been taken to the emergency room by her mother, Atelia Hunt, for an apparent cardiac arrest. Turner said she suffered from bruising along her body and burns were found in her genital area.
Atelia Hunt and her boyfriend, Mike Huckabee, Jr., were arrested and charged with homicide by child abuse in connection to Edna's death.
During a hearing on Nov. 3, 2011 both Hunt and Huckabee were denied bond and Judge Nettles asked Hunt why Edna's head was bald in pictures.
Hunt's attorney told WMBF News that Huckabee shaved Edna's head without Hunt's consent. Both were incarcerated at the Marlboro County Detention Center.
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