Latimer Byrdsell was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering 3-year-old A'brinna Dennis.

A Cumberland County man was convicted Wednesday of killing a 3-year-old girl as he sexually assaulted her in 2006.

Latimar Byrdsell, 30, was convicted by a jury of felony murder, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said.

Byrdsell smothered his girlfriend’s daughter, A’brianna Thomas, with a pillow in a Millville motel in July 2006.

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Byrdsell had been living with his girlfriend, Sharonda Dennis, at the Millville Lodge motel on Route 47 for a couple of months before the incident. The child died the night of the incident after she was taken to South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center in Vineland.

The jury deliberated for about four hours Wednesday after the three-week trial ended.

Byrdsell will be sentenced June 14 by Superior Court Judge James Swift. He faces life in prison.

Senior Assistant Prosecutor Brent E. Hopkins prosecuted the case. Lead Detective Sgt. Steven O’Neill and Detective Edwin Bowen assisted at trial.

Byrdsell was represented by attorneys Charles Sandilos and Katherine M. Parker.

The case shocked the area, and the grand jury that indicted Byrdsell in March 2007 said the crime was so heinous they recommended he be put to death if convicted. The death penalty was repealed in the state later that year.

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Press copy editor since 2006, copy desk chief since 2014. Masters in journalism from Temple University, 2006. My weekly comics blog, Wednesday Morning Quarterback, appears Wednesday mornings at

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