Mesa County man sentenced to prison in toddler's beating death

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A Mesa County man convicted in the beating death of a 19-month-old boy has been sentenced to the maximum term he was facing: three years in prison.

The Daily Sentinel reports some people applauded when the judge announced the sentence Friday for Justin Keel. He pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in the death of Owen Reak.

Investigators say the boy's mother told investigators she was showering on April 10, 2012, when she heard a pair of "booms," emerged from the shower and saw Keel holding her son. Keel explained Reak was fussy after falling off the bed. Keel denied hurting the boy and eventually said his dog may have hurt him.

The boy died the next day in the hospital.

Prosecutors said an autopsy showed Reak bled to death internally after sustaining a blow to the stomach.

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