PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Knoxville man accused in the beating death of his girlfriend’s 11-year-old son has been found guilty.

After deliberating for about two hours Tuesday, the jury found 30-year-old Anthony Bush guilty of third-degree murder in the beating death of McKee.

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“The jury did not find that he intended to kill him,” said Lisa Middleman, the defense attorney. “I don’t think there was any evidence that he intended to kill him. His twisted rationale for what he did was punishment and he‘s so ignorant, and uneducated and damaged as a result of his life, that he didn’t recognize what he was doing.”

Bush, who did not testify during his trial, has never denied beating the boy in the Knoxville apartment he shared with the boy’s mother, Cynthia McKee.

She pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter last month in connection with the boy’s death.

What the jury had to decide was Bush’s intent when investigators say he beat McKee in a bedroom, repeatedly, allegedly using samurai sticks and metal pipes for hours while the boy’s mother was at work, and then trying to sew the wounds shut with a needle and thread.

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“I didn’t want them to be sympathetic as much as I wanted them just to understand,” said Middleman, “and I think they did understand because I think if a… the average person who was raised in the appropriate household and has education and has a social life and has life experiences would know better than to keep hitting a child like that.”

Upon hearing the jury’s verdict, Bush said “Thank God.” He will be sentenced in April.

“He has tried to kill himself a number of times. He’s shown nothing but regret and remorse.” Middleman added. “Most of my clients who come from this – well I don’t know if I’ve ever had a client who came from such a disadvantaged and abusive childhood – but he didn’t know there was any other way to live.”

Following the announcement of the verdict, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office sent out a statement on behalf of the McKee family: “The McKee family would like to thank the members of the jury in this trial for their hard work in the face of what was difficult, emotional and heart wrenching testimony regarding the death of Donovan. We would also like everyone to know that Vincere is now surrounded by our family and is being lovingly cared for.”

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Lynne Hayes-Freeland