ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. (WAVY) — A man will serve 10 years in prison in connection to the death of his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son in Isle of Wight County.
Justin Cox entered an Alford plea to child abuse and involuntary manslaughter charges earlier this year. That means he did not admit guilt, but agreed prosecutors had enough evidence for a conviction.
The charges stem from the 2018 death of Levi Robertson. Investigators ruled his death a homicide by blunt force trauma.
The judge recommended 10 years for the child abuse charge with five years suspended and another 10 years for involuntary manslaughter with five years suspended for Cox — 10 years with 5 years suspended for each of the two charges.
That means Cox will serve 10 years in jail, and if he does anything wrong, he can go back to court and serve an additional 10 years.
Levi’s mother, Jaye Hadley, is charged with child abuse and second-degree murder. Hadley is due back in court later this month.
Sherry Boothe says since the death of her grandson Levi, nothing has been the same.
She carries his ashes in a necklace.
“I take him with me everywhere I go, everywhere,” Boothe said.
She’s happy that Cox will be behind bars.
“I thought I was gonna die, I just sat there thinking all I can do is pray God don’t let this man get away, don’t let him get away with killing Levi,” Boothe said.
But she says she wishes he would be in jail for a longer period of time.
“In 10 years Levi would be 15, he would be getting ready to go to high school, and to prom, and maybe have a girlfriend, all that stuff is gone,” Boothe said.
In court on Tuesday, when the judge asked if Cox had anything to say, Cox tearfully told the family he apologized, and it was a tragedy, but he maintained his innocence.
10 On Your Side asked Boothe what she thought of his tearful plea for mercy.
“I think he was desperate to get the judge to think he was a good person and a victim,” she said.
Boothe says this past Saturday Levi would have turned 7.
In memory of Levi, she got a tattoo of his name in his favorite color.
Boothe says she’s glad this is done with, but says she will also be back in court when Levi’s mother,
“The important thing is that he is going to be off the street for a long time,” said Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Edwards.