ELYRIA — A Lorain man was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison in connection with the death of a 2-year-old boy.
Andre Moore, 31, who had originally faced murder charges, pleaded guilty to counts of involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, kidnapping and felonious assault as part of a plea agreement. He was sentenced after the plea by Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery. Moore had faced five counts of murder, which were dismissed as part of the deal.
Moore was arrested Jan. 12, along with girlfriend and the toddler’s mother, Samone Boykins, 30, also of Lorain, after police conferred with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner, MetroHealth Medical Center physicians, the Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office and Lorain County Children Services.
The arrests came after a nearly two-month investigation into Moore and Boykins, which began when a call was made to 911 requesting an ambulance for a small child who had suffered burns.
Moore and the person who called 911 had been watching Brandon Williams II, 2, at the time of the incident. In his call to 911, Moore said Brandon had suffered the burns while taking a bath. However, Moore’s version of the events was not consistent with the injuries the child was treated for, according to police.
In addition to being burned on approximately 45 percent of his body, Brandon was healing from bruising to his face and hip and from a broken rib.
Brandon was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center in Lorain and later flown to MetroHealth in Cleveland, where he was admitted into the burn unit. He died five days later, police said.
“Brandon Williams II, who was lovingly known to his family as B.J., lost his life in November 2017 when he was not even yet 3 years old,” Assistant County Prosecutor Chris Pierre said prior to the sentencing. “The reason he lost his life was because of the actions of the defendant that stands before you, while that child was under his care and his control. Under his authority, that child suffered severe burns that covered the majority of his body that led to his death.”
Prior to the sentencing, a family member of Brandon’s read a letter from Brandon Williams, the boy’s biological father. The elder Williams was unable to attend the hearing, the family member said.
In the letter, Williams said he had been unaware of how his son had died until he was at the funeral.
“The last image I have of B.J. was his tiny body in the casket,” Williams’ letter said. “He stole my child. He stole my junior, and there’s not enough time that he could serve that will ever change that. My baby boy is gone forever, and I have to live with that. He (Moore) wanted to hurt me, and he did that. But what you did to B.J. will haunt you forever.”
Moore made no apology when he spoke prior to sentencing.
“I ain’t kill nobody. I ain’t kill nobody; they keep saying it, but I’m going to take my punishment right now,” Moore said. “I can’t do nothing about it. I can’t cry, but I ain’t kill nobody; I know that. Twenty years, that is a long time; I’m going to take it on the chin, though, because I know in my heart, and God knows, I ain’t kill him.”
Prior to the beginning of the hearing, Lorain County Sherriff’s deputies had to remove Moore from the courtroom after he exchanged words with the victim’s family. During the sentencing, Rothgery ordered some members of the victim’s family to leave the courtroom after they shouted obscenities at Moore.