CLEVELAND COUNTY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A jury has found William "Billy" McCullen guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 3-year-old Jordyn Dumont.
The jury deliberated for less than 20 minutes before announcing their guilty verdict Monday morning inside a Cleveland County courtroom.
McCullen's attorney did not deny his guilt Monday, but asked the jury to find him guilty of second-degree murder instead. His pleas went unanswered.
McCullen was the boyfriend of Jordyn Dumont's mother. Investigators said McCullen called 911 to say the 3-year-old girl went missing while he was asleep. After days of searching, the child's body was found in a shallow grave near her home.
An autopsy report showed that Jordyn died from blunt force injuries, internal bleeding, and more than 60 bruises on her chest, hands, and legs.
"William Joseph McCullen was the complete opposite of the good father he claimed to be. He was a killer,” said prosecutor Deborah Gulledge to the jury in closing arguments Monday.
Gulledge ended her closing arguments by telling the jury they had seen “horrible, horrible things” in the trial, referring to Jordyn’s numerous injuries.
Then she held up a picture of 3-year-old Jordyn, telling the jury, “And that’s why I want this to be the last picture of Jordyn that you see. This tiny little 3-year-old girl, so happy and full of life, despite the assaults and abuse she lived through on a daily basis.”
Fox 46 Charlotte’s Robin Kanady saw a juror wiping away tears at that exact moment during closing arguments.
McCullen didn’t apologize when he was given a chance to speak. He just said he wanted to appeal the verdict and sentencing.
Greg Carpenter, a member of Guardians of the Children, which is an organization working to prevent child abuse, said after the sentencing, “He (McCullen) has no remorse. I just want to take him and not even think about him. He’s lower than dirt.”
Crystal McCullen, William McCullen’s sister, said after the verdict, “I just feel confused. I didn’t want to believe my brother was capable of anything like this.”
McCullen has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.