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SMITHFIELD, N.C. -- A man has been sentenced to die for the death of a 4-year-old girl in his care in 2010.

A Johnston County jury on Thursday returned a death sentence for Jonathan Douglas Richardson in the death of Teghan Skiba. The same jury had convicted Richardson of murder last month. Prosecutors say Richardson was involved with the girl's mother, Helen Roxana Reyes. The woman left the girl in Richardson's care while she went to New Mexico for military training in July 2010. Richardson and Teghan lived in a building behind his grandparents' home in Johnston County for 10 days, where investigators said he shook Teghan violently and hit her head against something, causing brain damage that eventually killed her.

The death sentence is automatically appealed.

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