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Traverse City – A 22-year-old northern Michigan man who pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend’s 3-week-old daughter has been sentenced to at least 35 years in prison.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports 13th Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power went beyond sentencing guidelines Thursday in giving Thomas Weatherholt his punishment in last year’s death of Havona Hawsawi, his ex-girlfriend’s 3-week old daughter.

Weatherholt wrote a letter expressing remorse. His lawyer Cynthia Conlon says he hopes to change his life while in prison by furthering his education and seeking substance abuse and mental health treatment.

The girl suffered severe head trauma and other injuries. Investigators say Thomas Weatherholt was under the influence of alcohol and medication.

Conlon has said Weatherholt pleaded no contest because he couldn’t remember what happened.

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