A jury convicted Andrew Byrd (left) in the beating death of his girlfriend’s daughter Harper Mitchell (right) (Pictures: New River Valley Regional Jail/Bradley’s Funeral Home)
A man who beat his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter to death and refused to call for medical help until it was too late will spend the rest of his life in jail.
Convicted killer Andrew Byrd, 37, has been given two consecutive life sentences for the brutal slaying of Harper Mitchell.
‘No person, let alone a little girl, a little angel, should be hurt,’ said Circuit Judge Joey Showalter during his sentencing hearing on Friday.
Byrd was in his home in Roanoke, Virginia, on April 16, 2020, with Harper and her two siblings while their mother, Amanda Mitchell, was away at work.
Andrew Byrd was given two life sentences on Friday (Picture: New River Valley Regional Jail)
The mother returned to find Harper bruised, cold and limp. Still, Byrd would not let her call for medical help and instead confiscated the phone, The Roanoke Times reported. She said her boyfriend strangled her and threatened to kill her kids if she took Harper to a hospital.
‘This is the most serious crime of all the crimes we’ve got on our books,’ said Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Rehak, according to the newspaper. ‘This defendant tortured that poor little girl.’
The next morning, Mitchell said she got to her phone and called Byrd’s mother, who in turn called cops. Her toddler was taken to a hospital, where she was taken off life support three days afterward.
Harper died of blunt-force trauma to her head.
Two-year-old Harper Mitchell was taken off life support (Picture: Bradley’s Funeral Home)
She was so beaten that it looked like she was in bad car crash, testified medical examiner Amy Tharp.
A jury in March convicted Byrd of eight counts including aggravated murder, child neglect, abduction, assault and battery, aggravated malicious wounding, interfering with an emergency call and possessing a methamphetamine. They did not find him guilty of brandishing a firearm.
‘This is a dangerous, violent liar,’ Rehak said on Friday, adding that a life sentence is ‘probably too kind, and too much mercy’.
Harper’s dad, TJ Mitchell, detailed to the judge how hard it was to take his daughter off life support.
Her mother faces pending charges for child abuse, cruelty and drug possession.
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