Following weeks of deliberation surrounding the death of 8-year-old JonMarquis Stepich, his stepfather was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, The Root reports. Orlando Williams, 39, brutally abused the young boy in separate instances, but an encounter that occurred earlier this week was so severe that it led to the boy's death.
The Pittsburg Post-Gazette reveals that Williams was intoxicated at the time of the physical abuse. He allegedly walked into Stepich's room and hit his foot on a laundry basket, then proceeded to slam Stepich on the floor. The young boy began to have trouble breathing and fell unconscious after the impact. Authorities state that Williams aimed to land Stepich on his bed.
Williams notified Stepich's mother - who was asleep at the time - later that same morning of Stepich's health condition. After examining Stepich's body, medical officials noticed that he suffered a brain hemorrhage. The injury worsened over the course of Williams' abusive moments. The court also found Williams guilty of failing to immediately call medical officials once he called attention to Stepich's deteriorating health, noting it as an example of intent to kill.
Stepich's mother, Aliehsa Lininger, said that she was aware of Williams' harmful relationship with her sons and said he used "belts and cords" as a form of punishment. "My client is very satisfied with the verdict. It was very tragic what happened," Dan DeMarco, Lininger's attorney said. "Justice was definitely served today in the courtroom."
Lininger was also charged with child endangerment.