Dec. 20, 2003 — The man sentenced this week to five years in jail for stomping a two-year-old boy to death in 2001 may not have to serve his entire sentence, said the prosecutor who won a conviction in the death of Rasheem Todman.
Vancito Farrington was taken from Territorial Court on Wednesday immediately after he received the maximum sentence for aggravated child abuse. "He got the maximum he could get. He got five years," said Assistant Attorney General Douglas Dick on Saturday. "We're pleased that the judge gave him the maximum he could give him."
Rasheem died in December 2001 when Farrington, who was babysitting at the time, kicked the child close to a dozen times. An autopsy report presented in court said the boy suffered a ruptured intestine and died because the injury was discovered too late.
Judge Rhys Hodge said he took into consideration Farrington's failure to act after the assault, which led to delayed medical treatment for the injured child. The judge was quoted in the V.I. Daily News, telling the defendant, "in this case, I am considering what the child went through."
But three days after the sentence was passed Dick said sentencing guidelines will make Farrington eligible for parole after serving half his term. "He's eligible for parole in two and a half years. It doesn't mean he'll get paroled. It just means he can have a hearing."
The prosecutor said sentencing guidelines apply to everyone and that prisoners are never granted parole automatically. A parole determination can come directly from the parole board or it can be influenced by testimony offered either for or against the prisoner.
In spite of Farrington's sentencing, the family of the dead child still has its legal problems, stemming from an assault on Rasheem's 10-year-old brother, allegedly at the hands of his mother, during a visitation at Four Winds Plaza in October.
The boy, along with his sister and one brother, were removed from the home after Rasheem's death. He was in the custody of his grandmother at the time of the alleged assault.
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