© Police Photo
Sentenced: Benjamin James George, 30, got life in prison for the violent death of a toddler
  • Benjamin James George, 30, of Medford, Oregon sentenced
  • Admitted choking and body slamming toddler in 2010
  • Defence argued mental impairment; judge not swayed
A 230-pound former Marine has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter in a brutal wrestling match, in which he threw the child across a bed and into a wall.

Benjamin James George, 30, of Medford, Oregon was sentenced Thursday after he was convicted of murder by abuse in the death of Kacy Sue Lunsford, the Mail Tribune reported.

The girl died at a Portland hospital in June 2010, five days after the assault.

Prosecutor David Hoppe said previous episodes of abuse culminated in one night of 'ultimate wrestling moves' that left the 30-pound child with collapsed lungs, a lacerated liver, internal bleeding and massive head wounds.

Kacy's family cried quietly during the hearing, but they made no statement in court, and left the building immediately.

Mr Hoppe said: 'Hopefully the verdicts will bring a small measure of solace to Kacy's family'.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia also sentenced George to 7 1/2 years for assault, to run concurrently with the life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

George showed no reaction and expressed no remorse during his sentencing.

Murder by abuse applies when a person, recklessly or with extreme indifference to the value of human life, causes the death of a child younger than 14 through a pattern of abuse, torture or neglect.

Tragedy: Toddler Kacy Sue Lunsford died in June 2010, after Benjamin James George used 'ultimate wrestling moves' on her

Crime scene: The home in Medford, Oregon where police say George killed the 2-year-old daughter of his girlfriend
After an emotional three-day trial, Mr Hoppe broke down during closing arguments as he discussed the assault.

Mr Hoppe said there were seven previous incidents of abuse, when George had pulled out patches of Kacy's hair, stepped on her and caused her to be terrified of him.

In the final assault, George had thrown Kacy 'like a piece of garbage' across a bed and into the bedroom wall, the prosecutor said.

The details came from six hours of taped interviews of George by police, Mr Hoppe said.

'It's a murderer describing how he killed a child', he said.

George's defence attorney, Robert Abel, had argued that George was a victim of genetic mental illness made worse by a traumatic childhood and compounded by a problematic relationship with Kacy's mother, Michelle Lunsford.

The last witness, George's ex-wife, Amanda George, said she tried to break off her relationship with him several times, but George would become suicidal.

Police investigate the death of the toddler. Later, George gave lengthy descriptions of how he hurt the little girl
He constantly accused her of infidelity and eventually became abusive toward her and their two daughters, punching holes in the wall, pushing the children and pulling their hair, she said.

She left him, but George continued to drive past her house and once tried to kick down the door, she said.

'I slept with knives and mace. Eventually I did purchase a gun', she said.

Defence witness Dr. Norvin Cooley, a psychologist from Willamette Valley, told the court George suffered from serious mental deficits, including severe depression and post traumatic stress disorder, which the expert said should be factored in as mitigating circumstances.

George had a history of suicide attempts, a 'borderline intelligence and major abandonment issues, Dr Cooley said, according to the Mail Tribune.

The fact that George calmly explained to police how he brutally choked Kacy from behind, body slammed her over his head and pinned her by putting his full weight on her, while pulling her leg as hard as he could, indicated he had cognitive failings, Dr Cooley said.

'His behavior was bizarre. It was amazing, he said, according to the Mail Tribune.

Evidence: A technician removes a cloth from the home that looks like it may be stained in blood
George had seemed to be doing better after being placed on anti-psychotic medication, Dr Cooley testified.

However, prosecution expert Dr. Michael Sasser, a Medford psychiatrist, said George was a 'malingerer' who was faking hallucinations about 'little green men' to get off easy.

Dr Sasser examined George once. He told the court, 'His hallucinations are bogus. He's trying to make himself look like he has an impairment'.

'There was almost a cavalier indifference', Dr Sasser said, adding he thought George had meant to hurt the child, or even kill her.

Judge Mejia said he wasn't swayed by either expert's words. 'Both testified more as hired guns than as objective (medical experts),' he said.