Keel sentenced to 36 years for 19-month-old's death

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) -- The man who pleaded guilty in the death of one-year-old Owen Reak will serve 36 years in prison.

Justin Keel, 26, received the maximum sentence in a Mesa County court Friday. He had admitted to child abuse resulting in death on Dec. 11, 2012, and reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Though members of Reak's family told KKCO 11 News they are satisfied with the sentencing, it still doesn't mean victory.

"The fact that he did plead guilty to killing an innocent child and he is receiving the maximum penalty of 36 years in prison is a positive for us in the situation, but obviously nothing is going to bring Owen back or resolve it but this is the positive outcome we wanted for this situation," said Robert Reak, Owen's uncle.

Owen died in April 2012 from blunt force trauma to the stomach. Keel-- Owen's mother's ex-boyfriend-- was arrested on May 24 in New Mexico.

Four members of Owen's family, including his mother and grandparents, all made statements in the courtroom asking Judge Robison to sentence Keel with 36 years in prison.

Owen's grandmother, Beth Morris-Feely, described Keel as a monster who caused her grandson Owen to live in a "silent hell."

Keel's mother also spoke, talking about her son's plans for his future and his loving personality.

Judge Robison senteced Keel to 36 years in prison and five years of probation, with credit for time served.

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