‘Tortured child’, 5, suffered life ‘worse than death itself’ as parents jailed

A child who was "starved and tortured" suffered a life "worse than death itself," as his parents and an accomplice are jailed.

Stephanie Grace Byington, 34, and Emilio Emmanuel Renova Sr., 33, are to each serve the maximum prison sentences for the 2019 killing of their son Antonio “Tony” Renova at their home in Great Falls, Montana, US.

Cascade County District Court Judge Elizabeth Best rejected Byington’s claim that she was coerced into harming her son, jailing both parents for 100 years.

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“I am also taking into account what I watched in the videos that were provided to me and in the photos, you were an equal participant in feeding this starving, tortured child,” she reportedly said.

“So I am not taking any account to claims that you were forced.”

A third co-defendant, 25-year-old Racso James Birdtail, reportedly encouraged Renova during the assault on Tony and then helped clean up the crime scene after the boy’s death. He was jailed for 15 years.

“It was a systematic, deliberate, constant and inevitable death,” Judge Best reportedly said.

“The death imposed by two of these defendants on this boy was the heaviest punishment any human being, let alone a child, should be expected to endure, and in the end, Tony could not endure it.”

Officers found the unresponsive child with a large gash on his head and blood coming from his nose and mouth at the home in November 2019 after Byington reportedly called police.

The child, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was reportedly covered in bruises and likely had a broken leg.

Reports in the US noted that some of the material found near Tony’s body appeared to be “brain matter.”

Blood was found around the ledge and on the inside of the bathtub.

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Court documents reportedly said that the “occupants of the apartment were not in distress when officers arrived, and the father was not reacting as officers would have expected for such a traumatic event.”

Byington reportedly admitted that the previous night she heard Renova beating their son in the bathroom, as per Law & Crime.

The twisted mum also admitted that she and her partner both previously hit the boy with belts and electrical cords.

“I have concluded that in this case we have three people here who in their own ways made the very short life of a child into a life of misery, worse, some might think, than death itself,” said the judge, handing down their sentences.


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