- Associated Press - Friday, May 23, 2014

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A jury has convicted a mother and stepfather of murder in the beating death of a Middle Tennessee toddler.

The Leaf-Chronicle (https://leafne.ws/TBvUo2) reports jurors in Clarksville deliberated on Thursday for less than five hours before returning guilty verdicts against child’s stepfather, 26-year-old Joshua Starner, and mother, 27-year-old Caitlyn Metz.

Both were convicted of felony murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect in the 2009 death of 23-month-old Keegan Metz. Starner, a former soldier at Fort Campbell, also was convicted of aggravated sexual battery. Metz was convicted of facilitation of aggravated sexual battery.

The attorney for Metz blamed Starner for the boy’s death, while Starner’s attorney blamed Metz.

Prosecutor Robert Nash told jurors it wasn’t clear who inflicted the deadly blows, said both parents should be held responsible for the death.

A medical examiner testified that the boy suffered severe injuries including swelling to the brain and bleeding behind the eyes.

“It’s a five-year-old case and it’s been emotional,” Nash said. “We have a 23-month-old child that was beaten severely to the point of death, and justice was served for him. I’m thankful to the jury for enduring graphic testimony and photographs, and sticking in there and seeing that justice was served for Keegan.”

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Information from: The Leaf-Chronicle, https://www.theleafchronicle.com


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