- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A man convicted of first-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son has lost an appeal of his life prison sentence.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday upheld the conviction and sentence of 29-year-old Rico Antwoine Berry.

An Oklahoma County jury found Berry guilty of murder and child neglect in the 2009 beating death of Jolen Babakhani. An autopsy found that the child had suffered blunt force trauma to the head.

Defense attorneys argued that Berry was play fighting with the boy and did not intend to harm him. Berry’s jury recommended a sentence of life in prison without parole on the murder conviction.

Berry’s attorney, Andrea Miller of the Oklahoma County Public Defender’s Office, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

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