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Jury convicts Edmond man of boy's murder

Rico A. Berry, 28, of Edmond, faces life in prison without parole for the Oct. 14, 2009, beating death of 2-year-old Jolen Babakhani; defense attorneys argued the death was accidental.
by Tim Willert Published: February 4, 2013
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A Oklahoma County jury deliberated about 21/2 hours Monday before convicting an Edmond man in the beating death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old son.

Jurors convicted Rico Antwoine Berry, 28, of first-degree murder and child neglect in the Oct. 14, 2009, death of Jolen Babakhani.

They rejected defense claims that the fatal injuries were the result of play fighting.

The panel recommended life in prison without the possibility of parole on the first count and life in prison on the second count.

Berry is to be sentenced Feb. 22 before District Judge Glenn M. Jones.

The boy's mother, Sara Babakhani, of Edmond, wept as the verdicts were read.

Berry showed no emotion and looked away from jurors. He declined to comment outside court.

Babakhani took the stand last week and recounted for jurors how she returned from a day of classes at Langston University to find her son unresponsive and his lips blue.

She testified about trading texts and calls with Berry while the boy was in his care and said he never indicated the child was seriously injured until she pulled into the parking lot of their apartment complex.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for FOXSports.com in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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