Updated: March 5, 2013 10:20PM
MUNCIE (AP) — A central Indiana judge sentenced a man and his former mother-in-law to prison for neglect and abuse in the malnutrition death of the man’s daughter.
Ryan McConniel, 36, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday in the death of his 5-year-old daughter, Lauren, The Star Press reported.
Delaware County prosecutors say the girl was starved and abused in 2010, mostly by her stepmother and her stepmother’s relatives. McConniel, who has since divorced the woman — his second wife — pleaded guilty to a neglect charge and gave authorities statements needed to convict her and some of her relatives.
“I guess I am just a worthless father like they said,” McConniel told the judge. “But I did try to protect her and help her. But I didn’t do enough.”
Angela Lee, the mother of McConniel’s second wife, was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison. Lee and her family urged McConniel to take custody of Lauren to help finance their household by receiving child-support payments.
Amber Huggins, the girl’s mother, lost custody of Lauren to McConniel in 2009 following a court hearing for which she didn’t have a lawyer.
“I will love her until my last breath,” she said.
McConniel has said he failed to protect Lauren from his wife and in-laws because he was physically intimidated by them.
In issuing the sentence, Delaware County Judge Thomas Cannon Jr. noted McConniel’s “depraved indifference” to what was happening to his child.