Wichita man who admitted to abusing son headed to prison in toddler’s death

A 26-year-old Wichita man who admitted to abusing his son was sentenced Friday to five and a half years in prison for the toddler’s death, the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office said.

Kentrell Willingham was sentenced on one count of child abuse in the death of his 20-month-old son, Lasiah Williams, who died July 28 after a custody exchange between Willingham and one of the boy’s family members.

The boy had just finished a multi-day visit with Willingham. The family member took Lasiah to the hospital after he became unresponsive following the exchange. The boy died at the hospital.

Willingham pleaded guilty to the charge in January and had a murder charge dismissed after an autopsy failed to pinpoint the toddler’s exact cause or manner of death.

Additionally, Willingham’s girlfriend, 26-year-old Xjohnna Hannah is scheduled to be sentenced on March 28. She originally had multiple charges, including a murder charge, before later pleading guilty to one count of aggravated endangering a child.

An autopsy found “extensive external injuries” on Lasiah’s head, neck, torso, arms and legs. Additionally, there were tiny spots on one eyelid called petechiae, which are caused by broken blood vessels and “often associated with ... asphyxia,” the report says.

A medical examiner noted in the report that the injuries to Lasiah are “strongly concerning for intentionally inflicted trauma.”

But the boy had no “notable internal injuries” that pointed to a cause or manner of death, both of which were ruled undetermined, according to the autopsy report.

Willingham claimed in a police interview that his son was “uninjured, alert, and smiling” when their visit ended and said the boy had “played roughly with some other kids” during a lake trip but hadn’t been hurt, an affidavit released in the case says.

However, phone messages between Willingham and his girlfriend suggest Lasiah was being abused, according to the document.

Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker with The Eagle