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Father receives 100-yr sentence

THE father of a starved 5-month-old American boy who died after his skin was eaten away by bacteria from a soiled diaper was sentenced in Illinois, the United States, on Thursday to 100 years in prison for neglect.

"I don't believe that someone who would let a 5-month-old rot to death deserves" an explanation for the harsh sentence, Peoria County Circuit Judge James Shadid said in ordering James Sargent to prison.

Sargent, 24, read a 15-page statement in court about society's impending demise without mentioning his son, Benjamin, whose body was found by authorities in February 2008. Sargent was convicted in April of murder in the boy's death.

The baby's last meal likely came three to four days before his death from bacteria that had dissolved part of his skin and seeped into his body.

Sargent's defense attorney argued that he suffered from mental illness that led him to seal himself off from reality and withdraw into a fantasy world.

The boy's mother, Tracy Hermann, who left with her boyfriend days before the death, goes on trial on neglect charges in October.


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