KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A man left to care for two small children pleaded guilty Thursday in one of the toddler's deaths three years ago.
Nathaniel A. Littlefield, 34, of Kansas City, Missouri, had been charged involuntary manslaughter and two counts of child endangerment after Messiah Henderson died in his care May 29, 2016. A Jackson County judge sentenced Littlefield to 21 years in prison.
Messiah's mother was at work and Littefield was watching the boy and his 5-month-old brother when the child suffered life-threatening injuries, according to court documents. The mother and Littlefield shared a residence.
The mother told police Littlefield picked her up from her job, but he left the two small children alone at the house. Littlefield told the boys' mother he did not want to wake the boys, according to the court document.
After arriving at home, Littlefield brought Messiah downstairs from his bedroom unresponsive and with labored breathing.
The mother drove Littlefield's car to the hospital while Littlefield held Messiah and blew into his mouth. The child died June 1, 2016, at Children's Mercy Hospital after suffered severe head trauma and a lacerated liver.
Littlefield later confessed to police he punched Messiah repeatedly in the face and head. His mother told police she asked Littlefield to ease up on Messiah because the child was so young.