Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: What happened to David Harrell, who was accused of killing young Brady West?
Submitted by: Jolene, Sacramento
ANSWER: John David Harrell was convicted of second-degree murder in the February 1997 beating death of 15-month old Brady West.
According to a story in The Bee, Brady's mother was in jail on suspicion of possessing drugs and Harrell's mother was baby-sitting the youngster at her North Sacramento apartment. Harrell and his mother reportedly got into a bitter argument and his mother walked out, leaving Brady in the care of Harrell, an admitted methamphetamine user.
The prosecutor said Harrell took out his anger on the child. When Brady began to cry, Harrell struck the youngster three or four times, then picked him up by the back of his neck an squeezed him.
Brady, who reportedly had injuries all over his body, died later that day of internal bleeding caused by a lacerated liver.
Harrell became the first Sacramentan to be sentenced under a law that went into effect Jan. 1, 1997, setting a mandatory penalty of 25 years to life in prison for child abuse homicides at the hands of caretakers. The law required that offenders serve at least 20 years before becoming eligible for parole.
Harrell, now 39, is at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad.
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