WINCHESTER — A father who beat his 11-month-old son to death in 2019, after months of abusing the baby and the baby's 4-year-old half-brother, was sentenced to life0 in prison on Tuesday in Frederick County Circuit Court.
Videos from Anthony Alexander Natale's phone, from April of 2019 to shortly before Anthony Jr.'s death on Aug. 4, 2019, were shown in court. They showed Natale roughly swinging and throwing the baby and swinging the baby’s half-brother by his wrists, causing excruciating pain for the boy. The faces of the baby and the boy were heavily bruised in the videos, and police body camera footage and medical experts testified both their bodies were covered with bruises.
While the 26-year-old Natale has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and deemed barely able to function, Judge William Warner Eldridge IV said it was no excuse. He said the pattern of abuse — which included misdemeanor convictions for beating the older boy in 2018 — showed the killing wasn't a heat-of-the-moment outburst.
Natale pleaded guilty in a plea bargain in December. He was convicted of aggravated malicious wounding, second-degree murder and two counts of child abuse. Natale, who sought a sentence within the state recommended guidelines, apologized in court, saying he wasn't a monster.
But Eldridge said the children were tortured. He said Natale's conduct warranted a penalty above the guidelines, which called for a minimum of three years, eight months and a maximum of 16 years, six months.
"Your condition wasn't so advanced that you didn't know these children were being harmed," Eldridge said. "I hear you Mr. Natale, but it's too late. They [the crimes] were horrific."
Read the full story in Wednesday's Winchester Star.