BLOOMINGTON — Nicholas Compton was convicted Friday of murder and four counts of aggravated battery in the death of 3-year-old Robbie Cramer.
Compton was acquitted of one count of aggravated domestic battery and one count of aggravated battery. He faces mandatory life in prison when he is sentenced on March 13.
The verdicts were returned late Friday afternoon after nine hours of deliberation over two days. The trial lasted nine days.
Compton, 24, of Normal, was accused of beating Cramer in March 2013 and causing an abdominal injury that led to the boy's death from peritonitis.
After the verdicts, Assistant State's Attorney Adam Ghrist said the case "is a tremendous example of how many people in the community can work diligently and well together." The prosecutor said the state's attorney's office worked with several agencies, including the Normal Police Department, McLean County Coroner's Office, and the state Department of Children and Family Services.
State's Attorney Jason Chambers said Ghrist and Assistant State's Attorney Kelly Harms showed the jury how the ongoing abuse in the child's life ultimately lead to his death after he and his mother moved in with Compton in the spring of 2013.
"The totality of the story that was woven together for the jury" helped the panel understand the nature of the more than 30 injuries suffered by the child, said Chambers.
The verdicts represent justice not only for the toddler but his family, said Harms. Certain evidence was tough to view and hear, she said.
"It's really difficult for the family members to sit and see the evidence of things they may not have known about. I can't even imagine," said Harms.
Members of the boy's family declined to comment on the jury's decisions.
Compton showed no visible reaction to the verdicts.
In his comments, defense lawyer Ron Lewis said "while we are disappointed in the outcome, we realize the jury put a lot of time into rendering its decision."
The defense will evaluate any issues that could be appealed, said Lewis.
The victim was the son of Compton’s girlfriend, Danielle Fischer, who faces murder charges in a separate case for her alleged failure to take the toddler to the doctor.
Fischer was given immunity for her testimony at Compton's trial. She was asked about text messages she exchanged with Compton about the child's injuries that multiplied during the 19 days Compton cared for him.
Compton told Fischer that the child fell while resisting Compton's efforts to put eye drops in his eyes. One of the injuries shown to the jury in a series of photographs depicted blunt force trauma to the boy's eye, trauma the state said Compton caused.
Fischer admitted that she kept her son away from his grandparents during the final days of his life because of the bruises and abrasions that darkened many portions of his frail body.
"I was afraid they would try to take Robbie away from me," she told the jury.
As the boy grew weaker and stopped eating, Fischer gave him over-the-counter medications to address vomiting and pain in his stomach, according to her testimony.
Ghrist told jurors that Compton's size 12 sneaker was the likely murder weapon used to kick the child in the back, causing the internal injury that killed him. Other injuries included a burn on the child's face that came from a piece of drug paraphernalia laid against the boy's cheek, according to the state's theory.