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Deanthony C. Hodges, 35, appears in Rock County Court on Thursday for a sentencing hearing. He was sentenced for the March 2017 death of his infant son Amanii.

JANESVILLE

Before being sentenced Thursday in Rock County Circuit Court, defendant Deanthony C. Hodges told family members gathered in the gallery that he is praying for everyone affected by the death of his son.

Hodges offered the statement in court Thursday, where he thanked his family members for their support and said he is praying for everyone on both sides of his late son Amanii’s family.

“I apologize for not getting my son the help he deserved,” Hodges said. “God rest his soul.”

Hodges, 35, of Beloit, was charged in the death of his infant son in March 2017. He was sentenced on charges of neglect of a child in which the consequence is death and felony bail jumping.

Judge Barbara McCrory issued consecutive sentences on both charges. Hodges was sentenced to a total of 11 years initial confinement and six total years of extended supervision. Hodges will be eligible to seek parole after serving five years in prison. He has been given 1,163 days of credit for time served, which is a little more than three years.

McCrory revoked Hodges’ bond, and he was taken into custody.

Hodges reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in May and was found guilty in the death of 7-week-old Amanii C. Hodges on March 20, 2017.

Amanii Hodges’ mother, Jessica A. Nelson, of Beloit, was also charged in the case. Nelson’s case remains open. She faces a charge of neglect of a child resulting in death.

In her remarks prior to sentencing, McCrory said she was aware of the evidence and needed to craft an appropriate sentence based on the facts and serious nature of the case.

“It’s clear from watching the video and seeing the people that are here that you have a very loving, caring and supportive family,” McCrory said.

McCrory also addressed all the family members who came to court and said there is more work to be done as a related criminal case unfolds.

“I will tell you that I am sorry for the loss you have all suffered,” McCrory said.

Assistant District Attorney Richard Jay Sullivan read multiple victim impact statements filed in the case on behalf of family members.

In one victim impact statement, a family member identified as “MN” wrote that Amanii’s life ended far too soon.

“He was given baptism and last rites on the same day,” the individual wrote. “No child should ever experience the loss of a sibling. Having lived with a killer is an unimaginable burden to trust any grown-up again. But you didn’t break our family. We became stronger as a family despite the trauma you brought on us.”

In another victim impact statement, a relative who is the legal guardian for Nelson’s other children was identified as “DN.” Her statement read that the loss of Amanii changed their family forever.

“In your anger you took away a little boy’s life. A brother, nephew, grandson and great-grandson,” this individual wrote. “We treasure the few pictures and memories we have of Amanii. We had so many plans for the future: teaching to swim, playing games, eating popsicles, going to the park—gone in a flash of anger.”

The defense also played a video in which several friends and family members spoke about Deanthony Hodges’ character.

Several family members, including Hodges’ mother and father, asked the court to hand down a lighter sentence in order for Hodges to remain a part of his children’s lives.

His father said Hodges was well-behaved growing up, was never involved in gangs or drugs, and that he was a loving son and father.

“I don’t think my son should be taken away from his family any more than he’s already been,” his mother said in the video.

Hodges has two sons, and he said in the video that they are the center of his world.

As previously reported, Beloit police responded to a home in the 700 block of Euclid Avenue at 1:58 p.m. March 20, 2017, where a baby was reported unresponsive.

Hodges told police he had been watching his son that morning, prepared a bottle to feed him and found his son to be not breathing.

Beloit Memorial Hosptial staff advised police that the child had sustained injuries consistent with being shaken or physically harmed.

According to court records that cite medical experts who assisted in an investigation, Amanii Hodges suffered a brain bleed caused by significant head trauma, a fracture to the back of his skull and retinal hem- orrhages due to head trauma.

A medical doctor cited in the criminal complaint noted that the force needed to cause the injuries was consistent with that of a high-speed crash in which a person is restrained and added the injuries were consistent with shaking or slamming a child.

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