HARDIN -- The Hardin father accused of killing his toddler in April admitted to the crime Tuesday, telling the judge he beat her to death with a belt.
Dana Redding Jr., 23, pleaded guilty in Big Horn County District Court to the charge of deliberate homicide for the death of his 2-year-old daughter, Isabella. He had previously pleaded not guilty to the crime.
As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors will dismiss charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. They will recommend a sentence of 60 years to the Montana State Prison with 10 years suspended.
The victim’s mother, Kevannah Grace George, is charged with criminal endangerment for allegedly knowing about the abuse and failing to report it to law enforcement.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Redding spoke little but answered questions about the night his daughter died.
When asked by his defense attorney, Redding said he hadn’t had any reason to be angry with his daughter or discipline her. But still, Redding admitted he beat his daughter repeatedly with a belt, causing her to die.
“As a result of those blows, did you daughter die?” asked Greg Paskell, Redding’s defense attorney. Redding agreed that his actions caused his daughter’s death.
Big Horn County Sheriff’s deputies had been called to the scene for a report of an unresponsive child and transported the girl to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
According to medical staff, the victim had a “massive amount of bruising covering her entire body” and an open head wound.
The victim’s 3-year-old brother told investigators that his "Daddy" hurt his sister and said investigators his father used a "tool.”
George allegedly told investigators that her daughter had told her a week prior to her death that Redding had beaten her.
Sentencing for Redding is set for January.
George’s case is still unresolved.