Kendall Pritchett Sr., of Gulfport, MS, was sentenced last week to the maximum 40 years in prison by Circuit Court Judge Larry Bourgeois. Pritchett had previously entered a guilty plea to Second-Degree murder last month.
The case began the evening of May 3, 2020, when the Gulfport Police Department responded to Garden Park Hospital in regards to a six-week old baby boy who was deceased upon arrival. The medical examiner subsequently determined the cause of death was the result of complications from a thermal burn injury, and the manner of death was homicide.
The Gulfport Police Department immediately commenced an investigation and discovered that the baby, who was living at an apartment on Jody Nelson Drive in Gulfport with his mother and Kendall Pritchett Sr., his father, had suffered from scald burns at least ten days prior to his death.
The investigation revealed that neither Kendall Pritchett Sr. nor the mother ever sought medical care for the six-week old baby, or even made a call to a medical doctor during that span of time. The first call for any medical assistance was the call to 911 by the mother on May 3, 2020, when the baby was discovered non-responsive in his crib.
Assistant District Attorney Haley Broom, who prosecuted the case, advised that “the evidence the State of Mississippi intended to present at trial included the fact that during the ten days this baby was in excruciating pain, Kendall Pritchett, Sr. and the mother watched the baby’s skin turn from different shades of red to green slime and become infected. The only steps taken was a trip to the local Family Dollar to purchase ointment and gauze pads, and Googled search terms on how to treat burns. Furthermore, not only did Pritchett cause these injuries and fail to treat the injuries, but he also concealed them so others would not discover the baby’s injuries.”
Medical experts had opined that such injuries were consistent with injuries caused by exposure to water temperature at or above 120 degrees for at least five minutes. Further, experts were prepared to testify that the failure to obtain medical care for the scald burn injuries caused the death of this infant.
At the hearings, Kendall Pritchett, Sr. stated he and the mother were under the influence of drugs at the time, and the baby was burned during a bath. Pritchett further claimed that he relied on the mother’s direction and experience of motherhood, instead of seeking medical care.
Prior to imposing the sentence Judge Bourgeois stated “Can you imagine the horror this child experienced? You fathered a child. Anyone can father a child. It takes a real man to be a daddy. You failed. You, sir, are no daddy. A real man would endure anything he had to do to save his child. You have not done it.”
Judge Bourgeois then sentenced Pritchett to the maximum 40 years in prison.
“We thank the Gulfport Police Department in their extensive investigation into the death of this innocent and helpless infant. This case is truly tragic. These defendants selfishly chose to worry about themselves and their well-being, rather than their infant’s. The maximum sentence handed down by Judge Bourgeois was warranted given the facts and evidence in this case,” said District Attorney W. Crosby Parker.
The infant’s mother previously pled to Second-Degree Murder, and sentencing is pending.