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A Fort Worth man was sentenced to 99 years in prison on Friday for fatally beating his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter.

Jurors convicted Donald Ray Sparks Jr. of murder on Thursday in the death of Brelynn Nobles.

During the trial in state district Judge Mollee Westfall’s court, prosecutors Alana Minton and Kim D’Avignon presented evidence that, on April 28, 2010, Brelynn’s mother went to work and left her boyfriend in charge of her four children until her cousin could arrive to care for them. When the cousin arrived about an hour later, Sparks was sweating when he answered the door and Brelynn was naked and unconscious, lying face down on a bed.

The defendant claimed the toddler hit her head in the bathtub and asked the cousin not to call 911.

But the cousin did call 911 and Brelynn was rushed to an area hospital, where she later died.

The baby had numerous injuries, including to her genital area, but the medical examiner determined that a severe blow to the abdomen is what caused Brelynn’s death.

The jury took about an hour in assessing the 99-year prison term for Sparks, who has a juvenile record and was on parole for an aggravated robbery he committed as a teen when he fatally beat Brelynn.


Melody McDonald

Public Information Officer

Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Office

401 West Belknap

Fort Worth, TX 76196

817-884-3120 (direct)

817-821-3935 (cell)

 Twitter: @TarrantDAOffice