ROCK HILL, S.C. — A York County father made an Alford plea in court Tuesday in connection with the beating death of his 2-year-old son.
Bruce Williams was accused of killing Miguel in front of his other children back in April of last year.
He pleaded guilty to homicide by child abuse. A judge sentenced him to 23 years behind bars.
Williams told investigators he was drunk and high. He'd been popping Xanax pills all night and did not remember what happened that day.
Williams admitted he didn't call for help because he didn't want the Department of Social Services to get involved.
However, prosecutors said the toddler had injuries so severe, it looked like he'd been in a car crash.
Williams and his girlfriend, Lakeisha Jackson, were accused of getting drunk and high then beating their 2-year-old son to death in a Rock Hill hotel room.
Police said the horrific scene playing out in front of the toddler's two older siblings. Making matters even worse, police said the parents didn't call for help for more than two hours.
Prosecutors said the 2-year-old was beaten from head to toe, suffering bleeding on his brain and in his abdomen.
However, Williams' attorneys said he doesn't remember doing any of it.
"One of the things we were dealing with, of course, was his intoxicated or impaired state by the use of drugs and alcohol."
Jackson was still facing a number of charges including homicide by child abuse as well. She previously told a judge they didn't mean for the toddler to die.
"Sorry for the whole, everything that's going on, and it was an accident."
In a letter, Williams told the judge, "My mistakes will affect me and my family for the rest of our lives. I beg everyone and God for the forgiveness I can never give myself."
Williams' attorneys said the guilt he feels will last a lifetime.
"He has to live with that for the rest of his life, and that is a worse sentence a worse punishment than any court could ever inflict upon him."
"That is something that will haunt him the rest of his life, and that is not an easy thing to wrestle with, knowing that you're responsible for the death of your own child."
An Alford plea means Williams did not admit any wrongdoing but conceded there was likely enough evidence to convict him.
Prosecutors said the child suffered a lot in his short life. When Miguel was born, he tested positive for drugs. When he was just a baby, both of his arms were broken, and he spent time in foster care.