Parents sentenced to life in prison in 4-year-old son's death - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Parents sentenced to life in prison in 4-year-old son's death

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Thompson and Guinyard (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center) Thompson and Guinyard (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Two parents will spend life in prison without the possibility of parole after a jury found them guilty of beating their 4-year-old child to death.  

Members of a Richland County-based jury returned guilty verdicts against Robert Antonio Guinyard, Sr., 28, and Courtney Shante Thompson, 25, just a few hours after prosecutors delivered their closing arguments on Wednesday.

Both were charged with homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct towards a child.

Thompson and Guinyard stood accused of beating their 4-year-old son, Robert Guinyard, Jr., with a curtain rod because the boy failed to control his bodily functions.

The case also became a lightning rod for political debate as several senators accused the Department of Social Services of not protecting the boy despite the fact several calls were made about him.

In fact, Robert had been returned home by DSS following an incident four years ago.

State prosecutors slammed the pair in their arguments and said Robert was "tortured by his own parents."

"The system failed Robert," said one prosecutor.

Both parents pleaded for leniency after the verdicts were read.

"I'm an innocent man, I did my best," said Guinyard, Sr. "I can't do much about it, have mercy on me."

Courtney Thompson told the judge "I did not kill my baby. I didn't."

Thompson and Guinyard were escorted out of the courtroom shortly after Judge Robert Hood sentenced the parents.  

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