NEWTON— William Howard Lail III was found guilty of second-degree murder in the drowning death of Jaydon Ray Sandlin in Catawba County Superior Court on Tuesday morning.

He was also found guilty of two counts of felonious child abuse for bruising Kylie Madison Sandlin and Jaydon.

As for child abuse charges concerning burning, the jury found him guilty of two counts of non-felonious child abuse.

This verdict comes after nine days of testimony and four hours of closing arguments.

The jury came to this decision after three full days of deliberation.

Lail was charged with one count of first-degree murder in the drowning death of Jaydon, 1, and four counts of felony child abuse.

He was accused of abusing both Jaydon and his sister Kylie, who was 3 at the time of Lail’s arrest.

On May 3, 2013, first responders arrived to a residence in Long View to find Jaydon deceased and both Jaydon and Kylie covered in burns and bruises.

Lail said the burns were caused by accidentally leaving the children in the bathtub with running water that was too hot a week and a half prior to Jaydon’s death.

As for the drowning, Lail testified on the witness stand in court that the drowning was caused by leaving Jaydon unattended in the bathtub.

Neither Kylie nor Jaydon received professional medical treatment for their injuries, which physicians described as excruciatingly painful second- to third-degree burns.

Kylie and Jaydon were the children of Lail’s now ex-girlfriend Whitney Weathers, who pleaded guilty to multiple charges of felony child abuse earlier this year.

Lail was represented by defense attorney Victoria Jayne.

Assistant district attorneys Jamie Adams and Michael Van Buren represented the state.

Superior Court Judge Forrest D. Bridges presided.

The Hickory Daily Record will update this story as more information becomes available.

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Jordan Hensley is the court reporter at the Hickory Daily Record. ​

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