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Deputies: S.C. man pleads guilty after girlfriend’s son ‘brutally sexually molested’ before death

William Ryan Looper (left) and Jessica Smith (right).
William Ryan Looper (left) and Jessica Smith (right).(Source: Laurens County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 7:31 AM EST
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LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WYFF/WMBF) - An Upstate man accused of sexually molesting and brutally beating his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son pled guilty to several charges Thursday.

William Ryan Looper pled guilty to murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of unlawful neglect of a child in exchange for removing the death penalty as an option.

He was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for the murder charge, officials said. For the criminal sexual conduct charge, Looper received a 60-year prison sentence. He received a 10-year sentence for each unlawful neglect charge. All sentences will run concurrently, officials said.

Brantley Smith was found with “apparent injuries all over his body” in July 2018 after deputies were called to a home in Clinton.

Deputies said Brantley had been “brutally sexually molested” before his death.
Deputies said Brantley had been “brutally sexually molested” before his death.(Source: WYFF)

Deputies said Brantley had been “brutally sexually molested” before his death.

The child’s mother, Jessica Smith, was charged with homicide by child abuse and two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child.

“These animals, who are possessed with pure evil, have no place in our society,” Sheriff Don Reynolds said at the time of the couple’s arrest. “There is no rehabilitation for people this evil. I’m sure God has a place for these broken individuals, as he does for these precious children.”

“Unfortunately, I have had to work many homicide cases over the years, some of which involved children; however, this by far the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” Capt. Robert Wilkie said. “This incident brought tears to the eyes of our investigators and what these individuals did to this child is unimaginable.”

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