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PHOENIX -- A judge on Monday sentenced a Mesa man to 18 years in prison for fatally beating his live-in girlfriend's 4-year-old son.

Judge Warren Granville of Maricopa County Superior Court also placed Jorge Alberto Busso Jr., 26, on lifetime probation in the December 2010 death of Ramon Alejandro Haro Colin.

Busso originally was charged with first-degree murder, but he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as well as one count of attempted child abuse. His plea agreement called for a prison sentence ranging from 17 to 20 years.

Busso will not be eligible for early release, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said.

Busso, Montgomery said in a statement released by his office, "has been held accountable and will pay for his crime."

"There is simply no excuse for the brutality he inflicted on this innocent child, and no punishment that can ever replace the life that was taken as a result of his actions," Montgomery added.

Authorities said Busso acknowledged that he punished the boy for soiling himself by using a belt and his hands to strike the child's face, back, buttocks and forearms.

Busso also was accused of causing the boy's head to strike a wall several times by pushing him into a corner during the beating.

Authorities said Busso left the room after the beating and returned about 30 minutes later to find the child unresponsive and limp. He kept Ramon in the home for several hours until the boy's mother returned from work.

Doctors were unable to control the child's brain swelling. He died two days after the attack due to his injuries.

The statement released by Montgomery's office said the boy likely could have survived had he received immediate medical attention.

Busso's attorney, Toby Schmich, said in court records that his client has accepted responsibility for causing the boy's head injury and failing to seek medical attention.

Associated Press,

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