MILWAUKEE -- Christopher Ward was sentenced on Friday, April 19 to nine years in prison and another six years of extended supervision in the death of 14-year-old Jada Wright, his severely disabled cousin.
"Your contribution to her death was more than just neglect," said the judge presiding over Ward's case.
Prosecutors and family believe Ward, now 19, was a teenager in over his head; unable to handle the responsibility of caring for his severely disabled cousin.
"I told them if it ever got too hard, bring her back. I'll die to take care of my niece," said Kecia Ford, Jada's aunt.
Wright had cerebral palsy, was non-verbal and was wheelchair-bound. She died from blunt force trauma to the abdomen on Feb. 15, 2018, just days after her 14th birthday.
"Those last hours for Jada Wright were hours where she likely suffered; where she was in pain," said Matthew Torbenson, prosecutor.
Ward told police he hit Jada in the stomach, but then changed his story and blamed his father.
"I'm innocent. I didn't do anything to my little cousin. The person that did this is still out there," Ward told the court.
Ward did take responsibility for failing to get Jada help when she became sick -- and pleaded guilty in January to neglecting a child (consequence is death).
"You weren't just neglectful, you were violent," the judge told Ward.
The judge said Jada suffered too many other injuries under his car -- and that his initial story to police was too detailed not to be true.
"It is terribly, terribly sad that she died. It is terribly, terribly sad that you contributed to that," the judge said.