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Former Soldier, Mother Convicted In Toddler Death

Former Soldier, Mother Convicted In Toddler Death

CREATED 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 reported 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.

Prosecutors said both should be held responsible.

A first-degree felony murder conviction means an automatic life sentence.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)