A Florida man who beat his 7-week-old son and suffocated the child with a baby wipe was sentenced to 45 years in prison for the infant’s death as part of a plea deal, PEOPLE confirms.
Joseph Walsh pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse in the death of his son Chance Walsh, a spokeswoman for the Sarasota State Attorney’s office tells PEOPLE. After abusing the child, Walsh and his wife, Kristen Bury, allegedly left Chance’s body to decompose in a crib for more than a week.
“You beat and brutalized an innocent infant who could not protect himself,” Bury’s mother and Chance’s grandmother, Sally Susina, told Walsh in court, according to NBC. “You are an abomination of mankind and you are a useless waste to society. You deserve much worse than this.”
Chance went missing in September 2015 and his body was found buried in a shallow grave about a month later. Authorities said Walsh beat Chance and shoved a baby wipe down the child’s throat, the Bradenton Herald reports.
After he died, Chance’s body was allegedly left in the couple’s North Port, Florida, home until Bury complained about the smell. The two parents then allegedly buried Chance in a wooded area near the home before fleeing the state.
Walsh and Bury, Chance’s mother, were arrested and charged with child neglect and first-degree murder. Bury accepted a plea deal in the case, but was found dead in a Florida jail of an apparent suicide last September.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
With Bury dead, prosecutors lost their only eyewitness, and video footage showing Walsh’s treatment of the boy was ruled inadmissible in court, the Herald reports.
“We are satisfied that justice will be best served with this length prison sentence,” assistant state attorneys Suzanne O’Donnell and Craig Schaeffer said in a statement obtained by the Herald. “Joseph Walsh will likely die in prison.”
However, Susina said in court that the family was hoping for a different outcome, according to NBC.
“We honestly wanted the death penalty,” she said. “We’re very old world and we believe eye for an eye. What he did was brutal and horrible.”