SALINA, Kansas — A Salina man who escaped from custody earlier this year has been sentenced to life in prison in the abuse death of his ex-girlfriend's 14-month-old son.
The Salina Journal (http://bit.ly/1epjXa0 ) reports that that 29-year-old Antonio Brown will become eligible for parole after 20 years under the sentence imposed Friday for first-degree murder. If he's granted parole then or any other time, he then will have to serve an additional 16 years and two months for two child abuse charges and a charge of obstructing official duty.
Brown apologized and read a statement to the court talking about the "many emotional questions that may never be answered."
"Although I am not fully responsible for and may never be able to explain these unexplainable situations that took place, I do take responsibility for any thoughtless actions that were of my own to the fullest and would give the world to take the place of the one whom all so dearly miss," Brown said.
Brown initially pleaded no contest to first-degree murder in the 2011 death of Clayden Urbanek. But authorities allege that on the eve of his initial February sentencing date, he walked out of a Saline County Jail holding cell after a door was inadvertently opened. Officers say he remained at large for two days before surrendering in Wichita to U.S. marshals.
He then withdrew his no contest plea, and was convicted last month during a trial in Riley County where the case was heard on a change of venue.
The toddler's mother, Brittney Betzold, is serving 13 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for failing to protect Clayden. Saline County Attorney Ellen Mitchell said that while Betzold worked 10 hours a day, seven days a week, Brown sat around the house and partied.
"He almost immediately began beating Clayden and always had an excuse for the bruises," she said.
Brown still awaits trial on an aggravated escape charge, which is scheduled for Feb. 26. He was also granted a change of venue for that trial.
Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, http://www.salina.com