A former division chief for the National Security Agency was sentenced to prison on Tuesday for causing the 2014 death of his 3-year-old adopted special needs son by throwing him against a wall, PEOPLE confirms.
Ram n Korionoff, a spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office in Maryland, tells PEOPLE that 38-year-old Brian O’Callaghan will serve 12 years in prison.
Korionoff says O’Callaghan pleaded guilty last November to child abuse resulting in death. He initially also faced a first degree murder charge.
O’Callaghan and his wife adopted the boy, Hyunsu “Madoc” O’Callaghan, from South Korea. In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, prosecutors said he was beaten to death, sustaining “a constellation of injury from head to foot.”
O’Callaghan was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but Circuit Court Judge John Debelius suspended eight years of the sentence and gave O’Callaghan credit for time served, Korionoff tells PEOPLE.
Debelius also sentenced O’Callaghan to serve three years of supervised probation.
During Tuesday’s sentencing, O’Callaghan’s mental state at the time of the child’s death was at issue.
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O’Callaghan had served tours in Kosovo and Iraq as a Marine and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after seeing several dead children, according to the documents.
Debelius said on Tuesday that O’Callaghan’s years of combat had a lasting effect on him and that it eventually “took its toll,” and was one factor behind what he termed “an in cred ibly horrible choice.”
Debelius said that whether O Callaghan abused the child multiple times or just once was a distinction that mattered less to him than the final outcome. “I can’t parse it out,” Debelius said. “It was horrible. It was absolutely horrible.”
According to officials, O’Callaghan and his older son were home when the fatal incident occurred. Prosecutors alleged O’Callaghan waited at least four hours before taking Madoc to a hospital for treatment.
Once at the hospital, doctors determined Madoc was in full cardiac arrest and that he had a 91 degree temperature. The child was transferred to Children’s National Medical Center, where he died three days after being taken off life support.
Prosecutors believe Madoc was the subject of multiple instances of physical abuse, noting in court documents that the child showed injuries supporting “the fact that the victim had recent episodes where he was beaten.”
“The sentence handed down to Mr. O’Callaghan is a serious one,” says Korionoff. “This was a grievous crime. We believe child abuse in the first degree, resulting in death, was the correct charge and plea for this case. Hyunsu ‘Madoc’ O’Callaghan had no one to speak on his behalf – prosecutors had to be the voice for the victim as this 3-year-old boy is no longer with us.”
Korionoff adds: “Anytime a child is found dead at the hands of his dad, it’s a tragedy – no amount of prison time will ever bring back this little boy or stop the tears from flowing in the adoption community and our county at large.”