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Woodstock man sentenced to life for killing toddler | News

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Woodstock man sentenced to life for killing toddler

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. -- A Woodstock man will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing his girlfriend's daughter.

Michael Naples, 33, was sentenced Thursday to life without the possibility of parole plus 30 years. He was convicted in April of felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault and cruelty to children in the death of 17-month-old Kaylee Johnson.

Kaylee's mother, Jamie Beck, pleaded guilty in November 2014 to charges of cruelty to children and making false statements. Prosecutors said she was criminally negligent in giving Naples access to her daughter. Beck was sentenced to 15 years with five to serve in prison.

Kaylee died in October 2012 after being found unresponsive at the bottom of a basement staircase inside Naples' Red Bird Way home. Beck, who testified against Naples, said she and Kaylee stayed the night at the house at Naples' request. Despite abusing Beck earlier in the day, Naples told her she would sleep over "if (she) loved him."

Beck called 911, and Kaylee was rushed to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, where she was pronounced dead of severe brain trauma. Medical experts said in court that Kaylee suffered a significant skull fracture, subdural bleeding and a broken leg. Her injuries were not consistent with falling down stairs.

Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace argued Naples either threw Kaylee down the stairs after killing her or placed her body in the basement to mislead first responders.

"(Naples) showed no mercy whatsoever to a toddler as he battered her to death," Wallace said.

Several friends and relatives saw Kaylee at a festival hours before she died. They testified she appeared healthy and was able to walk and run.

Beck and Naples were arrested in September 2013 and charged in Kaylee's death.

At Thursday's sentencing hearing, several of Kaylee's family members spoke about their loss. They also referred to Naples' violent tendencies, which were brought up during the trial.

"This defendant had a history of brutality towards women and children ... Because of this sentence, Michael Naples will never hurt another child or wife or girlfriend," Wallace said. "No punishment for this defendant will suffice to restore the family who lost Kaylee Johnson. Their loss is immeasurable."

Wallace said she hopes the sentence will help Kaylee's loved ones heal.

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