The mother of a 5-year-old girl who died from beating-related injuries pleaded guilty to murder Wednesday.
Amanda Hendrickson was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole, in the 2014 death of Heaven Woods, who according to court documents had been "savagely" beaten.
Her live-in boyfriend, 36-year-old Roderick Buckner, pleaded guilty to murder last year and is serving a life sentence without the chance of parole.
At one time, Monroe County prosecutors had sought the death penalty against the two.
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"We knew that the killing blow was delivered by Buckner because there was an eyewitness," District Attorney Richard Milam said Thursday. "I felt that (Hendrickson) should be held responsible, and she was.
"I was not going to let her out without a murder conviction."
The child had been abused for weeks, Milam said. Some of the injuries had healed, but some were more recent.
Buckner struck the girl in the abdomen with his knee and elbow on May 18, 2014, and hit her again on May 19. An autopsy showed that the child died of internal bleeding, loss of blood and blows to her abdomen.
Hendrickson and her daughter had moved in with Buckner in early May at a home on Brookwood Drive in Forsyth.
The Monroe County 911 center received two calls shortly before 9 a.m. May 20 about an unresponsive child at the home. Heaven died at the Monroe County Hospital emergency room soon after she arrived.
Hendrickson had a history with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services from a time when she and her daughter lived in Rome.
After her arrest, Hendrickson gave birth to a baby, fathered by Buckner, Milam has said. That child has been placed in foster care.
Buckner also has a teenage son and Hendrickson has other children, but she doesn't have custody of them.
Come back to macon.com for more on this story and see Friday's Telegraph.