BROOKSVILLE — After coming home from a shift as a Hernando County Sheriff's Office detention deputy, Cody Marrone used a hair dryer to burn the buttocks and genitals of his girlfriend's 3-year-old son.
Marrone first waited for the metal grill of the dryer to heat up, Circuit Judge Stephen E. Toner said at a sentencing hearing on Thursday. He then pressed hard enough for the grill, which was recessed from the end of the dryer, to touch the boy's skin, and held it there long enough to inflict several permanent scars.
"This took time," Toner said of the Jan. 17 crime. "It took enough time that I don't see how anyone could contend this was a snap (decision). It was enough time for him to stop."
Toner then sentenced Marrone, 22, of Brooksville, to 15 years in prison followed by 10 years of probation on charges of aggravated child abuse and child neglect causing great bodily harm.
The sentence was nearly twice as long as the term called for by state guidelines, but it matched the recommendation of a presentencing investigation by the Department of Corrections. It also nearly equaled the sentence requested by Assistant State Attorney Erin Daly, who had asked for 15 years of probation, rather than 10 years.
Marrone's attorney, Jeff Quisenberry of Tampa, had requested house arrest followed by probation, while agreeing that the court should bar Marrone from living in Hernando County to avoid contact with his former girlfriend, Megan Sherron, and her son.
Quisenberry argued that Marrone felt remorse, which he had testified to earlier in the hearing.
"Not a day goes by that I don't wish I could take this back," Marrone said.
Marrone also had no criminal record before this incident, Quisenberry said, and in the past year has held a job working at his grandfather's gym in Spring Hill.
"This is terrible, bizarre anomaly in his life," Quisenberry said. "Not to be repeated. Not to be seen again."
But Daly and Sherron told the court they doubted the sincerity of Marrone's remorse, especially because he had taunted Sherron after previous hearings, saying " 'Nothing's going to happen to me. I'm not going to prison,' " Sherron testified.
Also, Daly said, Marrone did not show remorse as he committed the crimes, to which he had previously pleaded no contest, or during the several hours that followed.
Sherron had left the child with Marrone when she went to work that Friday morning. He burned the boy because he would not let him sleep after his shift, Daly said. And though the boy was clearly injured, she said, Marrone left him "untended, unfed and uncared for while the defendant slept for several hours."
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