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Man sentenced to 20-25 years in grandson's murder

On Thursday, a judge sentenced Tony Coleman to 20-25 years in prison for the death of toddler Kyler Presnell. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

A Haywood County man was sentenced after pleading guilty to second-degree murder charges in the death of his grandson.

On Thursday, a judge sentenced Tony Coleman to 20-25 years in prison for the death of toddler Kyler Presnell.

“This conviction sends a strong message to the community that we will not rest until we bring anyone who hurts a child to justice,” District Attorney Ashley Welch said.

Kyler died under Coleman's care on Jan. 31, 2016. An autopsy showed Kyler died of trauma to his head and had bruises on other parts of his body.

Coleman has denied he harmed Kyler but entered a guilty plea during Thursday's hearing.

"There's never going to be closure. This was a 17-pound, 17-month-old baby just torn from his family," Ellen Pitt said. "And it was one of those things that didn't have to happen."

Pitt is serving as a victim advocate for Kyler's grandmother, Jayne Webb. Together they are pushing for laws to change giving grandparents more rights.

Webb made a victim impact statement in court, saying Kyler died alone, hurt and scared.

Other family members spoke in support of Coleman, saying he's a good man, a hard worker and committed to his church.

Tony Coleman's sentence will be credited with 311 days that he's been in custody.

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