Jury finds man guilty of beating 11-year-old to death with sticks, barbells, belt

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PITTSBURGH - A Pittsburgh man was found guilty of third-degree murder Tuesday in the killing his 11-year-old stepson during what prosecutors called an hours-long beating last year.

Investigators said the boy endured nine hours of abuse on Feb. 11, 2012, before his mother returned to their apartment at the Rochelle Towers on Knox Avenue after work. Police said the woman found her son unresponsive and later called police.

During closing arguments, the jury heard gruesome details about Donovan McKee's death. The prosecution said Anthony Bush used the young child as a "personal whipping boy."

Prosecutors said Donovan was beaten with barbells, belts, boards and wooden sticks. Officials said Bush attempted to stitch up McKee's wounds with a crooked needle and thread before the boy died.

Public defender Lisa Middleman didn't deny that Bush killed the boy, but said he didn't intend to kill him. She said Bush was abused as a child and had mental problems.

The defense said because Bush is albino he was picked on and was incapable of nurturing.

The jury found Bush guilty of third-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 23. He faces 20-40 years in prison.

The boy's mother, Cynthia McKee, 31, was later charged with involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.

Authorities said in a criminal complaint that McKee called for help after finding the child unresponsive, but not until more than an hour and a half had passed. A forensic pathologist told police that he believed the boy might have survived had he gotten help earlier.

McKee pleaded guilty last month to involuntary manslaughter. Common Pleas President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel will sentence her March 27. She is free on electronic monitoring.

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