UPDATE: Man gets life sentence in 5-year-old's death

Death penalty sought in Heaven Woods case

A Forsyth man got a life sentence without possible parole after pleading guilty to murder in last year's death of a 5-year-old girl.

District Attorney Richard Milam said Roderick Buckner made his plea during one-hour in the Heaven Woods murder case.

"You will serve all the days of your life in the custody of the state of Georgia's correctional facility," Milam said to Buckner.

In that same hearing, Milam also stated he will seek the death penalty against Heaven's mother, Amanda Hendrickson, An Aug. 6 arraignment was set for Hendrickson, he said.

Under state law, Milam said, the child's killers are eligible for the death penalty for two reasons: because the death was caused by aggravated battery and because it is "wantonly vile, horrible and inhuman" -- the definition used in the state statute.

Also in the courtroom was Anthony Woods, Heaven's father. In his statement, he spoke directly to Buckner.

"I cannot express what you took from me. I will never understand why you did this to my Heaven, an innocent child who could not defend herself. She was playful, she was loving, she was understanding," said Woods.

Authorities say Heaven Woods died of internal injuries in May 2014 after months of abuse. Hendrickson and Buckner, her boyfriend, were arrested and charged with murder.

Records in the case showed there was an open investigation in Floyd County, where the family lived. But Heaven and her mother were found living in Monroe County with her boyfriend's mother when she died.

Police say by the time Woods died, her left arm and five ribs were broken. In court, prosecutors said it was punishment for soiling her underwear -- something she couldn't avoid, given her injuries.


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