YORK COUNTY, S.C. - A South Carolina man was sent to prison Tuesday for beating his 2-year-old child to death.
According to WSOC-TV, Bruce Williams, 34, claimed he didn't remember the night of violence that killed his son.
On April 24, 2018, Williams, his wife, Lakeisha Jackson, and three children reportedly were in a motel room at the Royal Regency Inn on Riverview Road in Rock Hill. Authorities said the couple was doing drugs, and Williams was high on Xanax.
Investigators said Williams began beating 2-year-old Miguel Williams while the two other children watched.
The pathologist later described the cause of the little boy's death as "full-body blunt-force trauma."
"He had bruises from head to toe," said Rock Hill Police Detective Chris Quate, who saw the dead child after the attack.
However, authorities said Bruce Williams and Jackson lied to police and said the boy was found floating in the motel bathtub. They said they did CPR to try to save him, according to police.
Yet no one ever called 911. They reportedly took the child, who officials said was likely already dead, and drove to a friend's house on Williams Street.
Officials said the couple started drinking liquor and refused to call 911 or let their friend call.
Bruce Williams and Jackson said they were worried about DSS getting involved. That's another awful part of this story, Quate said.
"As traumatic as it was to see a young boy's lifeless, beaten and battered body, it was awful and shocking to hear Miguel's life story leading up to the moment of his death," he said.
DSS had taken Miguel Williams from Jackson once before. Officials said he thrived in foster care for several months. His foster family took several pictures of a happy child and saw him pass several important milestones in his young life.
Then, custody was given to Bruce Williams, his father. His mother, Jackson, told police that she felt no duty to step in and help that night or even call 911.
"Miguel's life and now death were an inconvenience to his parents," Quate said in court.
After lying in statements to police, Williams and Jackson eventually turned on each other, authorities said. Prosecutors said the evidence clearly showed this was not a drowning incident.
"They pointed fingers at each other, claiming the other one actually assaulted the child during the time they were together in the motel," said Deputy Solicitor Willy Thompson.
Bruce Williams will serve 23 years in prison and appear on a child abuse and neglect registry.
He took what's called an Alford plea, which means he does not admit he committed the crime, but knows that if a jury heard the evidence, he'd likely be convicted in a trial. Such a plea is treated as a guilty plea under the law.
The mother of the child, Jackson, hasn't been to court yet. She also faces charges of child neglect and homicide by child abuse.