Las Vegas man sentenced for killing toddler

A 22-year-old Las Vegas man was sentenced on Thursday to 13 to 40 years in prison for killing a 16-month-old child in September 2009.

Jocquise Coleman was a teenager when prosecutors said he killed Lamaj Terry, who died from an unknown blunt force trauma to his head and abdomen. Coleman, then 18, was the boyfriend of the child’s mother and was caring for the toddler while she was at work.

In August, Coleman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and child abuse and neglect with substantial bodily harm.

The baby’s mother, Brittany Terry, testified at the sentencing hearing that she could forgive Coleman, but would never forget. No parent should have to suffer the pain of losing a child, Terry said through tears.

Judge Jerry Tao gave Coleman a chance to speak, but he declined.

Prosecutors said Lamaj was left in Coleman’s care for several days when Brittany Terry, then 19, was at work.

Coleman and Terry had been dating for about a month.

Paramedics found Lamaj unresponsive in an apartment at 5150 Spyglass Hill Drive, near Charleston and Nellis boulevards.

Two residents at the complex rushed into the apartment after hearing shouts that the toddler was unresponsive. They told investigators that he had bruises on his head and face and that his lips were blue.

Coleman fled but was arrested a couple of days later.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.