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Man convicted of pouring hot oil on sleeping woman, baby

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio — A jury on Friday handed down a guilty verdict for a man accused of pouring hot cooking oil over a sleeping woman while she was holding her 17-month-old son, according to multiple reports.

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Jurors found Michael Maloney, 42, guilty of two counts of felonious assault and one count of aggravated burglary, according to WXIX-TV and WCPO-TV reported.

Prosecutors said that on the morning of Dec. 21, Maloney broke into the home of his second cousin, Jayla Witt, heated a bottle of vegetable oil on the stove and went into an upstairs bedroom, where he poured the oil on Witt and her son, WLWT and WXIX reported. Witt suffered a “horrible burn all over her body,” prosecutor Brad Burress said, according to WCPO. Her son’s arm was also badly burned, WXIX reported.

“This was a premeditated, despicable act that on many levels, if not all levels, suggests that you may not even be a human being,” Judge Greg Stephens told Maloney in court, calling the crime sadistic, according to WLWT.

Authorities said Maloney gave conflicting stories when interviewed about the incident. Defense attorney Chad Peck told jurors that it was an accident, WCPO reported. Jayla Witt’s father, James Witt, previously told WXIX that he believed the attack happened because his daughter had opened her home to Maloney and later asked him to move out.

In a letter read in court by prosecutor Brad Burress, Witt said, “I couldn’t hold my baby for the first month after being home,” WXIX reported.

“I opened my home to you,” the letter said, according to WXIX. “I fed you.”

Stephens sentenced Maloney to serve at least 27 years in prison, with an additional 10 years added because his conviction made him a repeat violent offender, according to WCPO. Maloney pleaded guilty in 2000 to voluntary manslaughter for beating a man to death with a bat one year earlier, the news station reported.

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