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Man sentenced to life without parole for murder of 4-year-old with Down syndrome

James Emmanuel Robinson (Photo credit: Chatham County Sheriff's Office)
James Emmanuel Robinson (Photo credit: Chatham County Sheriff's Office)

Credit: Chatham County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Chatham County Sheriff's Office

A Savannah, Georgia, man has been sentenced to life in prison plus 80 years after beating a 4-year-old girl with Down syndrome to death and injuring her 3-year-old sister.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass Jr. called Robinson's crimes "unbelievably horrendous" during sentencing.

“My sympathies are with the victims in this case,” he said.

Robinson was convicted of felony murder March 2 for striking Lalia Hawthorne in the abdomen with his hands and committing other crimes Oct. 24, 2015, the newspaper reported. Jurors also convicted Robinson on an aggravated assault charge after he bit Nakeita Hawthorne in the leg and also hit her in the abdomen.

Prosecutors said Robinson and the girls' mother argued over alleged cheating and that Robinson attacked the children to get back at her.