The living hell of Adrian Jones’ last year on earth ended with his emaciated and battered 7-year-old body consumed by pigs.
On Monday, one of the adults who inflicted such horrific abuse on the Kansas City, Kan., boy was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Heather Jones, Adrian’s stepmother, also was sentenced Monday to five years and eight months in prison for two counts of child abuse.
District Judge Mike Grosko followed the terms of the plea agreement and ordered the sentences to run consecutively.
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Jones, 30, pleaded guilty in Wyandotte County District Court last month to a charge of first-degree murder.
The boy’s remains were found last year, and authorities said it appeared he had been fed to pigs on property rented by Jones and her husband in the 5200 block of North 99th Street.
Heather Jones’ husband and Adrian’s father, 45-year-old Michael A. Jones, also is charged in the case and is awaiting trial.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Sheryl Lidtke said Monday that it was the most heinous crime she has seen in her 27-year career as a prosecutor.
“He was horribly abused, neglected and ultimately killed,” Lidtke said. “I’m sure his suffering was unbearable.”
She said he was physically and emotionally abused, confined and “essentially starved to death.”
But on Monday, Lidtke said she wanted to remember Adrian as the curious, energetic boy depicted in a video taken about a year before he died.
“He was cute as a button,” she said.
Adrian’s maternal grandmother, Judy Conway, also spoke Monday about the anguish of enduring the loss of the happy little boy who touched so many people in his short life and was robbed of a future.
“No one had the right to take all of those possibilities away,” Conway said.
When it was her turn to speak, Heather Jones cried as she said she was “deeply sorry.”
“I have to live with this for the rest of my life,” she said.
Jones described how she was caught up in an abusive relationship that she still has nightmares about.
“I didn’t have anyone to call. I didn’t have any family to help me,” she said.
After the hearing, Conway said Jones is still blaming her husband for what happened.
If she could ask Jones one thing, Conway said it would be why.
“How could you do such horrible, horrific things to a child?” she said.
Conway, whose daughter was formerly married to Michael Jones, said that after he was granted custody of Adrian and his siblings, she was not allowed to see them.
The children were home-schooled, and Conway said she thinks that prevented her or anyone else from having access to see what was going on.
“This could have been prevented,” she said. “If I would have been able to see them, I would have known what was happening.”
According to court documents, Adrian died sometime between Sept. 18 and Oct. 4 last year.
The boy’s remains were found last November.
Police were initially called to the home the day before Thanksgiving 2015 for a domestic disturbance.
Michael Jones was arrested and later charged with aggravated battery and aggravated assault in connection with that disturbance.
But while on the scene investigating that incident, police learned that Adrian had not been seen for several months and may have been killed.
On Thanksgiving Day, police served a search warrant on the property and found human remains in a barn.
The remains were later identified as Adrian’s after DNA testing.
Heather and Michael Jones were charged in December with first-degree murder and child abuse.
Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman said when announcing charges that the crime scene was “one of the worst things“ police investigators had ever seen.
Many of those investigators and police department employees attended Monday’s sentencing.