Man sentenced after killing 4-year-old girl while giving bear hug

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Man Sentenced After Killing Girl While Giving Hug

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

There is justice for a 4-year-old girl killed on Christmas Eve after her mother's boyfriend pleaded guilty Thursday at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse in North Carolina.

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WSOC-TV spoke to Mariya Owens' mother about the emotional day.

"I just want him to know that he still has to answer to somebody after this life," Jenipher Fofana said.

Demarcus Heath gave Mariya a bear hug so tight it cracked her chest damaging her aorta.

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"(It’s) devastating, for the fact of, when he ran up he told me she was choking so I assumed she was choking," the mother said.

The incident occurred in the bathroom at a home on Timber Commons Lane near Monroe Road. Prosecutors said Mariya's last words were, “Are you Santa?”

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That was when Heath grabbed her.

He was sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison.

"This is closure in my life,” Fofana said. “Finally, I found out what happened with my kid -- 20 years, I don't think it's enough."

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