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Christiansburg man pleads guilty to second-degree murder, child abuse charges

The man charged in the death of a two-year-old boy in Christiansburg entered a guilty plea on Monday morning.
The man charged in the death of a two-year-old boy in Christiansburg entered a guilty plea on Monday morning.

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – The man charged in the death of a two-year-old boy in Christiansburg entered a guilty plea on Monday morning.

In court, McKenzie Hellman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and child abuse charges. He is currently serving life sentences for sex crime charges.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney said McKenzie Hellman’s story changed several times and that none of his stories aligned with the child’s injuries.

Initially, officials said Hellman claimed he was in a different room when the victim was playing with another toddler in the bedroom. He told authorities that the two were jumping on the toddler’s bed when the victim fell and hurt himself.

His story later changed, according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney. Hellman later said that the two toddlers were fighting when the victim may have bumped into the dresser.

However, the other toddler told authorities that Hellman abused the victim and once at the hospital, authorities said it was clear the boy was abused.

The baby boy had more than two dozen blunt injuries to his body, bleeding around his brain and broken bones in his skull.

Hellman was convicted earlier this year for his role in sex crimes performed on the child.

While he already serves life sentences for those crimes, he now faces up to 45 additional years when he is sentenced next month.

Kayla Thomas, the victim’s mother, is currently serving a life sentence for charges related to sex crimes. She was not charged in connection with his death.

10 News has covered this case extensively. Read more from our coverage:


About the Authors:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a digital content producer in July 2018.