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Christiansburg man gets two life sentences plus 90 years for murdering, sexually abusing his girlfriend’s toddler son

A Christiansburg man received two life sentences plus an additional 90 years in connection to the death and sexual abuse of his girlfriend’s two-year-old son.

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – A Christiansburg man received two life sentences plus an additional 90 years in connection to the death and sexual abuse of his girlfriend’s two-year-old son.

McKenzie Hellman appeared in Montgomery County Circuit Court on Tuesday morning for his sentencing. Last month, Hellman entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder and child abuse charges.

Below is a breakdown of Hellman’s sentence:

  • 5 years for possession of child porn
  • 10 years for distribution of child porn
  • 30 years for production of child porn
  • 5 years for neglect/child abuse
  • 40 years for second-degree murder
  • Life sentence for sodomy (mandatory life sentence)
  • Life sentence for object penetration (mandatory life sentence)

During his court appearance in July, the Commonwealth’s Attorney said 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.

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:

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

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.