The boy was covered in human bite marks, bruises and bleeding

By Harriet Sokmensuer
September 06, 2017 02:14 PM
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dakota-miller
Credit: Steuben County Jail

A New York man was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years to life in prison for the 2015 murder of his girlfriend’s toddler son, PEOPLE confirms.

Dakota Miller, 23, was found guilty in June of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter charges in the death of 18-month-old Ian Maniske Huff in November 2015, WETM18 reports.

He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on the murder conviction and 25 years on the manslaughter conviction, a Steuben County court official tells PEOPLE. The sentences will run concurrently.

On Thanksgiving Day 2015, Miller and Ian’s mother took the unresponsive boy to a local hospital. Hospital officials observed multiple human bite marks on Ian’s body, according to police. He was covered in bruises and was bleeding, according to the Elmira Star-Gazette.

Three days later, Ian was pronounced dead. Hornell police launched a criminal investigation into his death and during police questioning, Miller admitted to biting the child, saying he “probably bit him too hard,” the newspaper reports.

Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker described Ian’s death as being carried out “in an especially cruel and wanton manner,” the Star-Gazette reports.

At the time of the boy’s killing, Miller told his family Ian’s death was an accident.

“The night before he ran the baby to the hospital there was a board that dropped on the baby’s head,” Miller’s stepfather told WHAM13. “They put ice on the baby’s head and then they put the baby down.”

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According to an autopsy report, Ian died of blunt force trauma to the head and liver, WENY reports.

“I am hoping now that we can lay Ian down to rest and that we can grieve and mourn the way we were supposed to,” Ian’s great-aunt told WETM18.

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After Miller’s June guilty verdict, his attorney, Thomas Starr, said, according to TWCNews, “I think somebody got away with murder in Steuben County, and obviously it wasn’t Dakota Miller.”

Starr could not be reached for comment on Wednesday and it was not immediately clear if Miller planned to appeal.

District Attorney Brooks Baker said he hopes the parole board will never grant Miller early release, according to the Star-Gazette.

“This was one of the most heinous crimes I’ve ever been in contact with,” Baker said, the paper reports. “We watched trial-hardened state police investigators become emotional. Emergency room doctors cried on the stand. The level of beating this poor child suffered — there are no words for it. It escapes reason and comprehension.”