50 years in prison for man who beat, burned child in shower

PEORIA — A Peoria man convicted of beating and severely burning a 2-year-old girl by putting her into a scalding hot shower to punish her has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.

The Journal Star reports that 26-year-old Willie Vail was sentenced on Wednesday, about six weeks after he was convicted of aggravated battery.

Judge Kevin Lyons rejected Vail’s argument that he didn’t injure the girl but he said he didn’t think Vail meant to hurt the child as much as he did.

Vail was watching the young girl, who wasn’t his, and her 8-year-old brother last May. Because she would not eat popcorn, he placed her in the shower and turned on the hot water. The young girl suffered several burns on her back and lower legs and buttocks. The burns covered about 30 percent of her body.

Vail faced 60 years in prison, which is twice the normal penalty because the prosecutors showed his actions showed wanton cruelty. R.

— with Associated Press reports

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