Joseph Pierson gets 37-year sentence in 3-month-old son's dehydration death

Prosecutors sought 45-year sentence

RICHMOND, Ind. - A man was sentenced Friday to 37 years in prison in the starvation death of his 3-month-old son.

A Wayne County jury in February found Joseph Pierson, 25, guilty but mentally ill of reckless homicide and neglect in  the 2012 death of Khaiden Hockett.

The Palladium-Item reported that Wayne County Superior Court Judge Gregory Horn handed down the sentence after prosecutors asked for a 45-year term and defense attorney Michael Dean sought a lesser sentence.

The boy's mother, Amy Hockett, 22, was sentenced in March to 60 years after being convicted of murder. A judge called the case the most horrific, unimaginable crime in Wayne County history.

Dean said Pierson will appeal his sentence.

The boy was found unresponsive inside the couple's Richmond home in February 2012. The cause of death was dehydration due to starvation.

Hockett told police that she had taken her son to see his pediatrician and had sought treatment for him at the Wayne County Health Clinic several times because he was having trouble keeping formula down.

But records show that Khaiden had only been seen once since his birth and had never been taken to the clinic. His body was also covered with open sores and dirt at the time of his death.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the couple's home was littered with used diapers, trash and piles of clothes. There was no food in the fridge and Khaiden's room had feces smeared on the wall, police said.

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