Crystal man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend's toddler

- A Crystal, Minn., man now faces 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to beating his girlfriend's toddler to death, according to a release from the Hennepin County Attorney's office. 

22-year-old Quran Mitchell lived with the woman and her child in a single room of a house they rented from the owners, with Mitchell acting as primary caregiver of the child when his girlfriend was at work.

In a courtroom late Tuesday he explained, his voice cracking with emotion, how he struck Joshua Lockhart, Jr. several times Feb. 11, causing bleeding in his brain and bruising over the toddler's entire body. 

In the original criminal complaint, police said Mitchell told them he hit Lockhart several times as punishment, occasionally with a flip-flop, because he had been sick and would not lay down to go to bed. 

In his plea agreement, Mitchell agreed to serve 40 years in prison rather than face a life sentence for first-degree murder, though his official sentencing date is Dec. 28.

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