A Tehachapi man convicted of murdering 4-month-old Anakin McKie in 2017 will spend the next 25 years in prison.
Daniel McKie, 21, expressed little emotion and declined to make a statement before being sentenced Tuesday by Superior Court Judge Stephen D. Schuett, who imposed 25-to-life and 15-to-life sentences to be served concurrently.
McKie was found guilty last month of second-degree murder and assault causing the death of a child under 8.
Anakin McKie was pronounced dead on Feb. 26, 2017 in their home on the 12900 block of Umtali Road in Sand Canyon near Tehachapi. Daniel McKie is not the biological father of Anakin, but they share the same last name.
An autopsy determined Anakin had injuries consistent with violent shaking. Injuries to Anakin's neck, spine and head were consistent with whip-lash-related violence caused by shaking, according to trial testimony.
"This was a purposeful, violent event," prosecutor David Wilson said after the sentencing. "He caused traumatic, traumatic injuries."
Trial evidence showed McKie was thinking about killing Anakin, Wilson said. He pointed to the Facebook status Daniel McKie posted while Anakin was in the hospital: "Anyone know how to kill a baby while its (sic) in the hospital?"
McKie told investigators his Facebook account was hacked and he did not write the post, according to trial testimony.
About a month after that Facebook status was posted, Anakin McKie was dead after being alone in a room with Daniel McKie for only a few minutes — Daniel McKie initially claimed he woke up and saw that Anakin McKie wasn’t breathing, Wilson said.
Later, Daniel McKie changed his story to detectives, saying he accidentally tripped and fell with the baby in his hands, Wilson said. And then, McKie admitted to shaking and squeezing the baby — Wilson said Daniel McKie told detectives he “killed him” over and over again.
Daniel McKie grew frustrated with Anakin and was under stress at the time of the baby's death, but when Daniel McKie decided to care for Anakin, he took on additional responsibility to look after him. Daniel McKie's frustration did not have to lead to Anakin's death, Wilson said.
"All Mr. McKie had to do was walk out of that room and take a break," Wilson said. "If he would have done that, we wouldn't be where we are today."
McKie's court-appointed lawyer, Tanya Richard, declined to comment after the sentencing.
Family of Anakin McKie were "gratified" that McKie was held accountable for the death of Anakin, Wilson said. Anakin's mother was in the courtroom during sentencing but declined to make a victim impact statement.
"They've always wanted the same thing; they wanted justice for Anakin," Wilson said of Anakin's family.