By Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2020

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) - A northern Illinois man has been convicted a second time in the 2011 beating death of a 3-year-old boy.

Thomas Albea’s first conviction in 2015 on first-degree murder charges was reversed in 2017 and remanded to the Lake County Circuit Court by an appeals court ruling citing trial error Albea was serving a 33-year sentence at the time. A jury late Thursday found Albea, 27, guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated battery to a child in the death of X’Zavion Charleston.

“He (X’Zavion) had a right to see his 4th birthday,” Assistant State’s Attorney Eric Kalata told jurors in closing arguments. “He had a right not to be murdered in such a cruel fashion.”

Prosecutors say the child died the day after Albea punched the boy repeatedly in the stomach. Albea was the mother’s boyfriend at the time. After initially denying hurting the child, Albea told investigators he became angry after the boy swore while playing a video game.

During Albea’s trial, defense attorney Jason Powell theorized a family member of Albea’s or the child’s may have been responsible for the boy’s death.

A March 24 post-conviction hearing is scheduled for Albea.

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