Stepmother pleads guilty to manslaughter charge in death of Roxbury 3-year-old

BOSTON (WHDH) - The heartbroken mother and grandmother of a 3-year-old boy who died after being found unresponsive at his Roxbury home in 2016 fought back tears Friday as they addressed his stepmother in court before she pleaded guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge.

Maria Buie, 28, pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to criminal charges stemming from the death of her stepson, Kenai Whyte, who was found unresponsive inside his Alpine Street home on Jan. 31, 2016.

Prosecutors said Buie had been caring for Kenai alone before he was found with a broken neck bone, retinal bleeding, bruising to his ears and scalp, and a cut to his groin.

Kenai was transported to Boston Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead Feb. 2.

“I heard his first heartbeat, heard his first cry, saw him gaze into my eyes and smile for the first time,” Kenai’s mother told the court. “Kenai was a sweet, kind, gentle, happy little boy. If he saw someone else upset, that person became his concern and when he made them happy in return it made him happy.”

His grandmother thanked God for “the three-and-a-half years he gave me with Kenai.”

“For the memories, the love, and the hugs. He was my best buddy, my first grand, he was the focus of my life and he left a void that can never be filled …. When you get out, you will be able to watch your daughter do all the things that we won’t be able to see Kenai do. So please take this time to be a better you, to fix you in all the areas of your life so that you can be a productive member of society when you return to our community,” she said. “We all need second chances so, take this second chance to be a better you. I have to forgive you because God has forgiven me; you are the mother of my granddaughter so with that being said, God have mercy on your soul.”

In accepting the plea deal Buie will serve nine to 12 years in prison with credit for two years served.

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