'It hurts my soul:' Father of South Bend toddler killed in shooting gets 40-year sentence

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The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit investigated after a child was accidentally shot in the 600 block of Leland Avenue in South Bend.
The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit investigated after a child was accidentally shot in the 600 block of Leland Avenue in South Bend.

SOUTH BEND —  Avion Sexton Sr. sniffled and looked down as he lamented the death of his 1-year-old son, Javion Sexton, in a St. Joseph County courtroom Friday during his sentencing.

Sexton Sr. said it "hurts my soul" to think about how Javion was accidentally shot and killed by his 4-year-old sibling in June 2020. The 24-year-old was convicted in April on 13 counts of child neglect and drug dealing in connection to his son's death.

"I’m sorry to my kids. If I could change everything, I promise I would. If I could give my life for my son, I promise I would," Sexton Sr. said.

Though she believed his remorse, St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Hurley sentenced Sexton Sr. to 40 years in prison for child neglect resulting in death, finding the "egregious" environment he created by leaving guns and fentanyl out in reach of his children warranted a maximum sentence.

"Your child who pulled the trigger has to live with that with the rest of his life," Hurley said. "To live with that, I would think, makes these facts and circumstances even that much more egregious."

Hurley also issued a 25-year sentence for Sexton Sr.'s drug dealing convictions, though she said state law requires her to make that sentence run at the same time as the child neglect count.

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"You created an environment in that house that could have resulted in something horrible happening to either one of your children at any moment," the judge added.

The criminal proceedings against Sexton Sr. stem from a June 18, 2020 incident on Leland Avenue where Sexton Sr.'s son, Javion, was killed by a sibling when the older child was playing with a gun unsupervised.

Neighbors at the time told a reporter they heard a woman calling for help and saw her rush Javion to the hospital in the aftermath of the shooting. The child died in the hospital later that afternoon.

Sexton Sr.'s sentencing marks the conclusion of the criminal proceedings against the Mishawka man that began with an indictment by a grand jury in October 2020, four months after the death of his son.

Sexton Sr. was found guilty by a jury on all counts after a trial in April.

The child's mother, Eboni Hosea, was also indicted on nine criminal counts, including child neglect resulting in death and drug possession. Hosea has entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors and will be sentenced later this month.

Sexton Sr.'s mother also testified at his sentencing, saying he was distraught, and at times suicidal, after Javion was killed.

Though Sexton Sr. was convicted of 13 separate counts, the lesser child neglect and drug charges were subsumed into one count of child neglect resulting in death count and one count of drug dealing for sentencing purposes.

Prosecutors argued sentences for the two counts should run consecutively, but Hurley ruled that case law dictated they should run concurrently because the crimes were committed in one "episode of conduct."

Email Marek Mazurek at mmazurek@sbtinfo.com. Follow him on Twitter: @marek_mazurek

This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: Father of South Bend baby killed in shooting gets sentenced