NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A man convicted of killing his girlfriend’s daughter was sentenced to 50 years behind bars Friday.
Newport News Police say the then 23-year-old Carl Cottee killed 4-year-old Madyson Van Cleave.
Cottee was sentenced to 10 years for child neglect and 40 years for second degree murder.
The judge told Cottee why he went with the maximum sentence.
“This has to be one of the worst fact situations that I have seen in my career," Judge Bryant Sugg said.
During the sentencing, Cottee's mother, Lisa Cottee, lunged at Van Cleave's family.
She was screaming and threatening them.
Madyson's family said they can now close this chapter and move on.
“A big weight has been lifted off of my shoulders to finally get to this point because I have been ready for court for the past four years," the 4-year-old's Grandmoter, Tracy Jaskowak, said.
In 2013, police responded to a home in the 800 block of Sundown Lane, where Madyson was found unresponsive.
Investigators said Cottee was babysitting Madyson and her mother was not home at the time of the incident.
He told investigators she had fallen down the stairs, but officials said her cause of death was blunt force trauma.