Dad sentenced for beating boy: ‘I was going through a lot’

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CLEVELAND-- A  26-year-old man was sentenced Monday to 15 years to life in prison for the murder of his 3-year-old son.

William Sheppard was convicted of beating his son, Bryson Marshall.  The boy was found dead inside his home on Dec. 27.

Anna Faraglia, an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor, told the court the child had been struck 14 times in the chest, eight times on the head, and also had multiple contusions all over his body.  Faraglia read a letter to the court  written by  the doctor from the medical examiner’s office,  who said the 3-year-old had literally been beaten “from head to toe.”

Sheppard didn’t apologize, but instead told the court he had issues coping after he had been shot.

“I never meant to hurt my son,” Sheppard said.  “I was going through a lot at the time, I was frustrated.”

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Astrab said he would have liked to sentence Sheppard to more time behind bars, but the state statute sets the sentence to life in prison with parole eligibility after 15 years.

“I have zero discretion of the sentence,” Judge Astrab said.

Sheppard would watch the boy while the child’s mother, Bergundi Marshall, was at work.

Marshall plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and received five years probation.  The prosecutor and defense attorney said Marshall did not physically harm her son.