Chenoa man sentenced to 76 years in prison for death of 3-year-old

By WEEK Reporter

July 26, 2013 Updated Jul 26, 2013 at 9:53 PM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Convicted child murderer David Gharrett will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

On Wednesday, a McLean County judge sentenced Gharrett to 76 years in prison for the death of 3-year-old Destiny Cox. Cox was the daughter of Gharrett's girlfriend.

Prosecutors wanted a sentence of natural life for the convicted murderer but instead McLean County Judge Rebecca Foley sentenced Gharrett to 76 years in prison.

"He's a bully plain and simple and he has shown that time and time again with his acts toward Destiny being those of the highest level,” said Judge Foley. “The court sentence will ensure he will spend his 100th birthday in the Illinois Department of Corrections.”

In May, Gharrett, 26, was convicted in the murder of 3-year-old Destiny. Authorities said he threw the child into a bathtub, one of several instances of child abuse. Autopsy results revealed the child died of blunt force injuries to the head and abdomen.

"Torture is the only word I could think of,” said First Assistant State’s Attorney Bill Workman. “She was found with hot peppers in her stomach and that was one of his punishments he used to give her. “

Additional security precautions were made prior to Friday’s hearing, after Gharrett made repeated threats against the judge and McLean County Sheriff’s Deputies.

During the hearing, prosecutors played audio recordings of jail conversations Gharrett had with relatives who visited him since his conviction. In those recordings, Gharrett is heard saying "if I have to go back, they're gonna end up strapping me down in a chair.”

After the sentencing was handed down, Gharrett was removed from the court room. He could be heard screaming and banging against the walls of his holding cell.

Meanwhile, Destiny’s relatives remembered the innocent victim and expressed their relief that justice had been served.

"I wake up everyday and I have to find a reason to keep myself going everyday. I look at my children and I say that's my reason,” said Destiny’s father Davey Cox. “I look at my daughter and all I think about is justice for her sister and so we got our justice finally. “

Gharrett must serve 100 percent of his sentence.

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