JASPER - A Newton man has been sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of killing his girlfriend's baby.
A Jasper County jury sentenced Justin Havard Friday.
Havard, whose trial started on Monday, was found guilty Thursday afternoon.
He was charged with murder in the November 2013 death of 3-month-old Rylan McDaniel.
Havard, who is not the baby's biological father, was babysitting Ryland and his 4-year-old sister while their mother was at work.
According to 12News archives Havard called 911 to report the baby was choking. Paramedics took Rylan to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, where doctors say he died from blunt force trauma.
Havard is also under indictment in Kirbyville on an unrelated sexual assault of a child from 2013.
It’s been a heart wrenching week for both families in the case. Rylan McDaniel’s great aunt, Debra Rivette says her family has found peace.
"We've been waiting on this trial for 3 years, and for it to finally come and surpass, and finally get that verdict. We don't know the sentencing but at least we can breathe,” Rivette said.
Havard could not hold back tears as he left the courtroom. Defense attorney Ryan Gertz understands the jury's decision is final.
"Anytime you have the death of a child it's very emotional and difficult to come to the conclusion. So we appreciate and respect the jury's decision," Gertz said.
Rivette is glad the whole family can move on after taking an emotional toll this week.
"It's not just the mom or the grandma it's the whole family the oldest to youngest. It affects all of us so we're relieved and our prayers are answered," Rivette said.
She feels there is redemption for Rylan.
Havard faces between 5 to 99 years or life in jail. Sentencing will begin at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
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