Mother, boyfriend sentenced for child’s death

FRESNO — Emotions ran high on Monday as sentencing was handed down to a mother and her boyfriend in the death of a 10-year-old boy.

Seth Ireland died in January 2009, eight days after being severely beaten by his mother’s boyfriend, LeBaron Vaughn, police said. On Jan. 11, 2011, Vaughn pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

On Monday, Fresno Superior Court Judge Wayne Ellison sentenced Vaughn, 34, to 15 years to life in prison. As he handed out the sentence, he said that he believes Vaughn will likely spend the rest of his life in prison because of his horrendous crime.

Seth Ireland’s mother didn’t escape without punishment, even though she had agreed to testify against her boyfriend. Although her attorney had hoped she would get probation, Rena Ireland was sentenced to six years in prison for child endangerment.

Judge Ellison found that Rena Ireland was not just a passive bystander in her son’s death and should have protected Seth. He pointed out that in a previous incident, Ireland had lied and covered for Vaughn when Child Protective Services investigated a possible abuse claim at their residence.

Rena Ireland tried to speak at her sentencing, but broke into tears before she could utter a word. Outside of the courtroom, her attorney Antonio Alvarez said that Ireland never shirked her responsibility in the death of her son and felt a tremendous amount of guilt.

“She did feel she failed her son, Seth, and had a hand in his passing away,” Alvarez said.

Seth Ireland’s father, Joseph Hudson, felt that Rena Ireland’s actions led to his son’s death.

“(She) let an evil parasite move into the home where my baby boy lived,” he said at the sentencing.

Hudson shed tears as he talked about his son, calling Seth “one of Daddy’s biggest joys and gifts from God on this Earth.”

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