Dad found guilty in beating death of toddler

Elijah Burger

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by WCNC.com Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 4:11 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A jury found Andre Hampton guilty in the murder of his 23-month-old son, Elijah Burger.

The jury in the capital murder trial began deliberating Tuesday and reached a verdict by Wednesday morning.

The court ruled that Hampton, 27, brutally beat his son to death at the AARCS Residence Suites on South Tryon Street in November of 2008.

Hampton was guilty of first-degree murder via torture as well as felony child abuse.

Hampton showed no emotion when the verdict was announced.  Hampton's mother, meanwhile, shed a tear and his sister cried in a nearby hallway.

The sentencing phase will begin on Monday, and a jury will determine if Hampton gets the death penalty.

Brutal testimony

On Tuesday, defense attorney Norman Butler told jurors that when Hampton killed his 23-month-old son, he was only doing what a lifetime of abuse had taught him. 

“He’s not a monster.  He lost control.  He doesn’t know why, but, is that murder by torture,” asked Butler.

That is what the prosecution wanted the jury to believe happened to Burger.  Earlier, Hampton testified, and said, "I don't know what came over me."

On Tuesday, Prosecutor Bill Bunting strongly disagreed.

“How many times did he hit him with the toothbrush to rip his skin off his knuckles,” Bunting asked.

There was no dispute that Elijah was beaten from head to toe.  Hampton confessed, and told the police that he didn’t cry, and that’s why he kept on hitting the child. 

Defense attorney Butler reiterated that Hampton lost control. Bunting, meanwhile, told the jury that Elijah cried out in pain. 

“He objected,” the prosecutor said of the young child.  “He objected until he couldn’t object anymore, and then he died.

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