Crime

Kansas City man sentenced to 21 years in prison in toddler’s beating death

A Jackson County judge has sentenced a Kansas City man to 21 years in prison for the beating death of 16-month-old boy who suffered severe head injury and a lacerated liver, according to prosecutors.

Nathaniel A. Littlefield, 34, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in the June 1, 2016 killing of Messiah D. Henderson.

Messiah was rushed to a hospital late May 29 after his mother returned home from work and found him unresponsive with congestive breathing. He died three days later.

According to court records, his mother told police she left Messiah and his 5-month-old brother with Littlefield while she was at work.

After Messiah arrived at a hospital, doctors determined that he had a severe head injury and a damaged liver.

The mother also said that she was unable to speak to Littlefield while she was at work the day Messiah was injured. When Littlefield picked her up at work that night, he told her that he had left the boys home alone because they were asleep.

Littlefield later told police said he repeatedly struck Messiah in the face and head, but made no effort to revive him. He told police that no one else was with the children that day. Littlefield also said he had left the boys alone when he drove to pick up their mother at work, according to prosecutors.

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