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Vanryn sentenced for beating of 2-year-old who later died

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – A Fort Wayne man convicted in March of battering a toddler who later died learned his fate on Tuesday.

Allen County Judge Frances Gull on Tuesday sentenced 28-year old Mitchell Vanryn to 40 total years in prison. He received 40 years for the aggravated battery charge, and 30 years for the domestic battery charge, to be served at the same time, or concurrently.

The sentencing comes nearly two months after a jury convicted Vanryn on one count each of aggravated battery and domestic battery.

Vanryn was arrested in connection with the death of 2-year-old Malakai Garrett in 2017. The boy was found bruised and had suffered critical internal injuries.

Jurors acquitted Vanryn on a single count of murder, apparently unconvinced that there had been an intent to kill the child.

Vanryn was the only person who had been with the child in the hours before the boy was rushed to a hospital.

Malakai’s mother, Amber Garrett, is charged with felony neglect and is set to stand trial this summer. Garrett and Vanryn had been in a relationship at the time of Malakai’s death, in 2017.

A jury from outside Allen County will be brought in for Garrett’s trial, set for June 24. Local jurors considered the case against Vanryn.

Judge Gull told those who gathered for the hearing, because the charges against Vanryn resulted from the same set of circumstances, it would have been double jeopardy if she had stacked the two sentences on top of each other, risking one of the convictions being overturned on appeal.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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