Defendants get life term for 2019 death of Alabama toddler

Kamille Mckinney 1

The Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – A federal judge on Friday handed down life sentences to the two people convicted of kidnapping and killing a toddler in Alabama in 2019.

Chief U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler, of the Northern District of Alabama, sentenced Patrick Stallworth and Derick Irisha Brown to life in prison without the possibility of parole on each count for the slaying of 3-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney, WBRC-TV reported.

During the hearing, Coogler said the sentences for both defendants are less than what’s appropriate. “It’s the most I could do. If I had the ability to do more I would,” Coogler said after the hearing.

McKinney’s family asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Lloyd Peeples to read a statement before each sentence was handed down.

“You are the scum of the Earth that took her away from a good family,” Peeples read. “You didn’t care what you did, you only cared that you were caught.”

Stallworth appeared to show no emotion during the trial and declined to speak during his sentencing.

“Lord knows if I could go back in time to that terrible day and change the outcome I would,” Brown said to McKinney’s family and the court.

During Brown’s sentencing, a statement written by the little girl’s mother April Thomas was read.

“How could you look at someone so precious and take her away from love and life and do something so brutal,” Thomas wrote. “Life (without parole) and death will never be enough for what you did.”

Stallworth and Brown were tried separately late last year. In both cases, juries found that the kidnapping led to McKinney’s death. That sentencing enhancement led to a mandatory life sentence in federal prison without the possibility of parole. Both of their sentences will be served concurrently.

During both trials, the jury heard from dozens of witnesses and viewed around 100 exhibits. Prosecutors said Stallworth and Brown had planned to kidnap a child on the day the girl disappeared. The motive was unclear, with authorities saying Brown might have wanted the girl because she lost custody of her children and Stallworth might have wanted her for sex.

The search for the girl gripped the metro area until McKinney’s body was found at a Birmingham landfill, and hundreds of people attended her funeral. An autopsy revealed her cause of death was asphyxia. Doctors also found drugs including methamphetamine in her system.

Stallworth and Brown will now be tried on state capital murder counts. The state is seeking the death penalty.

(For copyright information, check with the distributor of this item, WBRC-TV.)

3/3/2023 4:17:00 PM (GMT -6:00)

Categories: Alabama News, Crime, Local News