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Life terms given for child death, porn

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

CHRISTIANSBURG — A Christiansburg man will serve two life terms in prison, plus 90 years, for abusing and killing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son in 2019 and using the child to create and distribute child pornography. A jury has recommended two life terms for the child’s mother.

McKenzie Kyle Hellman, 27, was sentenced in Montgomery County Circuit Court to mandatory life terms on convictions of sodomy and object sexual penetration on the child. He received a 40-year sentence for second-degree murder, 30 years for production of child porn, 10 years for distribution of child porn and five years each on convictions of possession of child porn and child neglect/abuse.

The toddler died at a Roanoke hospital two days after going unresponsive while in Hellman’s care. The boy’s mother, Kayla Nicole Thomas, 27, of Christiansburg, and formerly of Pulaski County, wasn’t home when the child went unconscious. However, police subsequently charged her with producing child porn and sexual abuse.

Thomas’ child neglect/abuse charge was dismissed in June at the prosecution’s request. A jury convicted her of reproducing child porn, producing child porn, forcible sodomy and object sexual penetration, and recommended she serve two life terms, plus 10 years.

Life terms are mandatory for convictions of forcible sodomy and object sexual penetration involving a small child. Thomas is to be sentenced Sept. 23.

According to Christiansburg Police Department, an investigation into the case revealed a history of physical and sexual abuse on the child.

With regards to the child’s death, Hellman reportedly provided police with multiple differing explanations as to how the child was injured — most suggesting the boy fell and hit his head.

An autopsy determined the injuries were the result of extreme blunt force trauma to the head; and were not consistent with a fall. Christiansburg Police Chief Mark Sisson referred to the child’s injuries as “brutal.”

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