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Md. Man Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison in Death of Toddler

A Maryland man will spend the next half-century in prison for murdering a little boy who looked at him "disrespectfully."

In 2013, Clinton Bernard was supposed to be taking care of Jamir Shipe while Jamir's mother was at work.

But the two-year-old boy gave Bernard a look he took as disrespectful, according to testimony in court. Bernard beat the boy against a wall; Jamir later died

Bernard slammed the boy against the wall so hard that it dented the drywall, according to court testimony. He tried to hide the damage by moving furniture in front of it before he called for medical help for Jamir.

Bernard, of Suitland, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Jamir's death. He was sentenced Friday.

The judge called the case a "crime beyond comprehension."

"I’ll never get to hear him call me Grandma, because he was just learning how to talk," said Jamir's grandmother, Lydia Polk. "I’ll never get to hear him call me Grandma, because he was just learning how to talk," she said.

Bernard's attorney said his client had anger management and mental illness issues that no one knew about until the crime happened. 

The crime shocked the Prince George's community and inspired Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks to begin a domestic violence task force within her office.

It will bring 11 attorneys who handle domestic cases together in one office. "The hope is that with more concentrated resources, families won’t have to feel the loss and pain Jamir's family now has to live with."

Prince George's County has seen a recent decrease in homicides, but an increase in deaths due to domestic violence.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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