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Mother and Former Boyfriend To Serve 10 Years for the Death of Skylar Inman

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A mother and her former boyfriend were sentenced Thursday in the beating death of 2-year-old Skylar Inman but the question remains of who really caused the toddler's death July 2008.

Lee Muldoon, 25, of Coggon, and his former girlfriend Brianna Volesky, 20, of Cedar Rapids, also Skylar's mother, will each serve 10 years in prison.

Both shed tears but only Muldoon admitted that he didn't protect the child, saying Volesky was the abuser.

Volesky didn't speak in court but her attorney claimed she was easily influenced and was guilty of "not stepping up" to protect her against Muldoon's aggression and control.

Muldoon and Volesky both pleaded guilty to neglect of a child and involuntary manslaughter. Two different judges at the separate hearings Thursday sentenced each to 15 years for both charges but ran them concurrently for 10 years total.

They also were ordered to each pay $150,000 for victim restitution and court costs.

Muldoon, tearful at times with a shaky voice, read a statement before his sentencing.

He said nothing will change what happened to Skylar but he wanted the judge to understand why he pleaded guilty.

"I never hurt Skylar. Brianna, my family and her family and God knows that. "I am guilty for not saving Skylar and not saving her from an abusive mother. I wish Skylar was here today. I loved Skylar like my own daughter."

Julie Trachta, Volesky's attorney who asked for a suspended sentence, painted a stark contrast to Muldoon's comments.

Trachta said Volesky was "vilified and trashed" by Muldoon and his attorney but she was never charged with homicide in this case, as Muldoon.

Volesky made errors in judgment along the way but she has been "reliving this" for two years now, Trachta said.

"This young woman has been through more in her life than most of us," Trachta said. "But she's here to take responsibility for this."

Muldoon's attorney Tyler Johnston gave an emotional, passionate speech, going over details in the case because he said the judge didn't get to hear a lot of the evidence because Muldoon's first-degree murder trial ended before the defense started its case.

The trial in August ended when there was evidence police had found in a search of Karen Volesky's home, where her granddaughter Brianna Volesky was living. Volesky, the prosecution's star witness, was allegedly using drugs and it also called into question Karen Volesky's testimony, who said her granddaughter she wasn't under the influence of drugs.

First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks offered Muldoon the plea agreement at that point the same deal offered to Volesky.

"Brianna Volesky was abusing her," Johnston said. "He didn't know what kind of person Volesky was. She was a sociopath."

Johnston said Volesky manipulated Muldoon, the Linn County Sheriff's Office and Maybanks. Volesky didn't point the finger at Muldoon until after she was charged.

He said Muldoon was blinded by love and the police didn't want to believe Volesky was beating her own child. He also accused the sheriff's office of not doing its job, not investigating enough.

Penny Boemer-Galvin read a victim's impact statement for Deneil Inman, Skylar's grandmother. Inman said there was no justice for her granddauther because neither Muldoon or Volesky will tell the truth.

Inman said her son, Bobby, Skylar's father, still has nightmares about Skylar being closed up in a coffin.

Maybanks said the two people responsible for Skylar's death are going to prison.

"The state did everything it could do to get justice for Skylar," he said. "Our thoughts are with her today."

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