Aug 8, 2013 12:04 PM by Tara Grimes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GREAT FALLS - Charles Cadwell, who pleaded guilty in June to killing toddler Keira Hulbert in July 2011, was sentenced in Great Falls on Wednesday to 80 years with the Montana Department of Corrections, with 20 of those years suspended.
Cadwell was charged with shaking the 15-month old child to death.
During the three-hour long sentencing, Keira's mother took the stand and talked about her loss, sharing some of her daughter's belongings and pictures.
Kayla said, "Have you ever thought, my whole world could shatter in 22 minutes? I didn't, I never did. I never second-guessed it."
She said of her daughter, "She was beautiful, she loved books. I have never seen a little girl as young as her take such care of books."
Once she was done, the court played a picture and video slideshow of Keira, and Cadwell began crying.
On Cadwell's side, a friend, a minister, and several family members expressed how the incident was uncharacteristic of him, how well he has done with other children, and how they believe, if he were let out, he would help deter other people from doing what he had done.
Cadwell's father Fred said, "He's a hard worker, honest, truthful."
And before learning his fate, Cadwell took the stand himself, saying it was an accident, showing remorse, and then reading a letter to Hulbert and asking for her forgiveness.
Cadwell said, "I pray every day that you can somehow understand that I am extremely sorry. I love Keira very, very much. I pray to God to take care of her every night."
Judge Greg Pinski said before pronouncing the sentence that he took into consideration that Cadwell saved the family the trauma of a trial, that he was a productive member of society at the time of the incident, and that he had taken responsibility for what he did by pleading guilty.
On the KRTV Facebook page later in the evening, Kayla wrote: "Today, I feel as though I failed my little girl. I did my best to make them see the little girl she was and not just a name. I am hurt by what the out come was... It was a big loss on my family's side. But you can bet we will be at his parole hearings, until our hearts stop beating and our last breath leaves our body. We will fight for Keira, and she will not be forgotten."