Philadelphia couple sentenced to 30-60 years in young son's death

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 26, 2013 5:02 PM

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday imposed a prison sentence of 30 to 60 years for the parents of a 6-year-old boy who died after being starved and beaten repeatedly, even while the couple took care of his 3-year-old sister.

Common Pleas Court Judge Barbara McDermott sentenced Latiff Hadi, 50, and his wife Tina Cuffie, 45, to prison for third-degree murder in the death of their son, Khalil Wimes, in March of 2012. The boy weighed 29 pounds (13 kg) at the time of his death, according to prosecutors.

"They won't be eligible for parole until they are in their late 70s," said Edward McCann, first assistant district attorney. "I think it is an appropriate sentence."

An unusual aspect in the case was that there was another child living in the South Philadelphia house, a 3-year-old girl, who was in good condition, McCann said.

"The other child witnessed her brother being abused in front of her," McCann said.

The girl is now staying with a relative, according to defense attorney Derrick Coker, who said he thought the sentence was too harsh.

Coker said he will talk with Hadi, who also goes by the name of Floyd Wimes, before deciding whether to appeal the sentence.

"He is very remorseful about the death of Khalil," Coker said. "That has been his state of mind throughout."

Cuffie's attorney could not be reached for comment.

McCann said the medical examiner ruled that the boy's cause of death was a combination of physical injuries, a head injury and lack of nourishment.

"There was not a surface of the child's body that was not covered by scars or some kind of injury as well as the starvation," McCann said.

He said the parents claimed that Khalil used to throw up his food.

"They started withholding his food for that reason," he said. "He was undernourished for at least two years prior (to his death) according to the medical records."

(Editing by Scott Malone and Gunna Dickson)