Richland County, SC (WLTX) - A judge has sentenced the parents of a Richland County child to life in prison without parole for killing the boy last year.
The judge issued the penalty Wednesday about 15 minutes after a jury convicted 28-year-old Robert Guinyard Sr. and 25-year-old Courtney Thompson on charges of homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct toward a child. The panel needed just over an hour to render their decision.
Their son, Robert Guinyard Jr., died on July 1st of last year. The night he died, incident reports say deputies found Robert face down and unresponsive. An autopsy concluded there was a history of abuse against the child. Prosecutors say the boy was killed with a curtain rod when he used the bathroom on himself.
The prosecution in the case spent much of the trial detailing the extensive injuries the child suffered in the weeks leading up to his death. One doctor told the court the child had fractures to his arm and ribs that were intentionally inflicted. Another expert said the child had a substantial amount of blood collecting in the tissues in his head when physicians examined him.
During testimony, the two tried to say the other one was responsible for the death. Thompson admitted to the jury Tuesday that she starved her son at one point, and used a cable cord to beat him, but said she did not kill her son.Guinyard Sr. said he often had to protect his son from his mother, and said he did not beat his son with the rod.
The death sparked outrage and calls for changes within the Department of Social Services for not doing more to remove Guinyard from the home. Eight employees were fired and Richland County now has a new DSS call intake department. Previous Coverage: The Systems Failed Robert
The agency also said they started new training initiatives to increase communication and understanding of risk factors.