George Wells’ loved ones said he was excited about the birth of his son, and that he was a loving father.
On Friday, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the 2-month-old boy’s death, after Pierce County prosecutors accused him of violently shaking the baby in a Fife apartment
“I feel terrible for what happened to my son,” Wells said at his sentencing, before he started to sob, and it became difficult to hear him.
The 27-year-old pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder for killing Knox Wells.
Never miss a local story.
On Friday, Superior Court Judge G. Helen Whitener agreed to follow the midrange sentence that the prosecution and defense recommended.
“This could have been so much worse for you Mr. Wells,” Whitener said.
Paramedics were called to the 2300 block of 58th Avenue East on Feb. 6, 2015, where they found Knox wasn’t breathing. The baby’s mother had left Wells alone with the child for about 20 minutes, according to charging papers.
Doctors later determined the child had severe brain injuries that were consistent with being shaken. He died about three weeks later.
Knox’s mother’s family and Wells’ wrote the court before Friday’s sentencing. They described Wells as patient and caring, including with young children. They wrote that he was proud to be baby Knox’s father.
Wells worked hard to graduate from high school and get a driver’s license, they said, and at one point was a volunteer firefighter.
“The family loves and supports George, and we know he loved his son,” his father, Wayne Wells wrote.
Whitener received 10 letters in support of Wells.
She told him: “You’ll have to live with the fact that your son is no longer here, because of your actions.”
No one appeared to address the court on Knox’s behalf.