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‘I wish you hell,’ mother tells child’s killer in courtroom showdown

Christine Oliver had hoped for a lifetime of memories of her son Louis. She dreamed of birthdays, graduations and career milestones; for a wedding and a first child.

Instead, she is left with nightmares.

“Making the decision to remove him from life support. Holding him for his last breath and heartbeat. Planning his funeral,” she said tearfully. "[These are] memories a mother should not have of her baby boy.”

On Thursday, James Nemeth, a former daycare operator, was sentenced to 29 years and 8 months in prison for shaking and fatally injuring Louis Michael Oliver, who was in his care at the time.

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The 39-year-old pleaded guilty in January to seven felony counts, including corporal injury to a child and child abuse. In his plea, he admitted he gravely injured the child at his in-home daycare in Clairemont on May 23, 2012. The boy died at a hospital the next day.

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Nemeth also admitted choking two children who are related to him and beating them with a belt.

Before his sentencing, Nemeth made a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, saying his lawyer did not give him enough information before he agreed to it. San Diego Superior Court Judge Joan Weber denied his request.

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Family members, friends and the child’s parents spoke to Nemeth and the court at his sentencing.

“You’re not fit to be anywhere but prison,” Christina Oliver said. “You assaulted and shook my son to death. I’m fairly confident Louis wasn’t the first baby you shook. These innocent babies and toddlers left in your care have silent voices who are too young to cry out for help. You are evil.”

Mike Oliver, the boy’s father, said, “Until a few decades pass and you get institutionalized, I wish you hell and all its amenities.”

Winkley writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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