(From AP Online)
Byline: GILLIAN FLACCUS
A woman who was convicted of killing her 3-year-old adopted son and reporting that he had been kidnapped was sentenced to life in prison.
Mary Jane King was found guilty of felony murder in the Jan. 24 death of Ahmad King, who was killed with a 2-foot pipe at the family's home east of Alma, about 200 miles southeast of Atlanta.
King, who was also convicted of cruelty to children for beating the boy's foster sister, was sentenced Thursday to 20 years on that charge. The sentences will be served consecutively, Superior Court Judge Dewayne Gillis ruled.
King will appeal her conviction, defense attorney John Thigpen said.
"This was one of the worst child murders that I've ever seen," District Attorney Rick Currie said after the sentencing.
"She beat that little boy with a belt and a pipe ... and she left him to die and then she hid the body. There is no doubt she is a child killer," Currie said.
King wept as she testified Thursday that Ahmad's death was an accident. She told jurors she lost control while spanking him. When she realized he was dead, King said she panicked, hid his body and told police he had been abducted.
"If I had wanted to kill the child, I would have used a knife or I would have hit him with a brick, but I didn't," she said.
An autopsy revealed that the boy had been hit more than 50 times with the pipe and a belt buckle, causing internal injuries resulting in his death.
After Ahmad died, King hid his body in the woods, an investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation found.
King then drove to a Wal-Mart in Jesup, about 40 miles away, where she tearfully told police and store employees that Ahmad had been taken from her car when she went to get a shopping cart.
The false kidnapping report led to an intensive search for the boy by law enforcement officers, store employees and other volunteers. But King later recanted, acknowledged to GBI agents that Ahmad was dead and led them to his body.
Although King never said why she beat the boy, investigators testified that he apparently had called her a name when she sent him to his room for fighting with his foster sister.