HOLT, MICH. - An Ingham County judge found Thomas McClellan guilty of first-degree murder this morning, meaning the 25-year-old Holt man will spend the rest of his life in prison for stabbing then burning Luna Younger, his 5-year-old stepdaughter.
Ingham County Circuit Judge Joyce Draganuchuk also found McClellan guilty of first-degree child abuse and first-degree arson.
Draganchuk alone deliberated because McClellan's attorney, Patrick Crowley, requested a bench trial instead of trial by jury.
During the trial, Crowley argued a second-degree conviction would be more appropriate.
The first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence with no possibility of parole. Michigan does not administer the death penalty.
Although rendered moot by the murder conviction, the child abuse and arson charges each carry a sentence of up to life in prison.
On Nov. 1, 2016, McClellan stabbed the child at least five times while his wife VIctoria King — the child's mother — was at work.
In a taped confession aired during the trial, McClellan said he killed the girl because she interrupted his nap and asked for something to eat.
He later piled blankets and paper towels on her body, then doused the pile in vodka and set it on fire.
The victim's family declined to comment after the verdict.
Sentencing is set for Aug. 23.
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