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Baby murderer to be sentenced

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A 21-year-old man will be sentenced on Friday for the ferocious bludgeoning murder of a 10-month-old boy as he burgled a Victorian house.

In a case that shocked the central Victorian city of Bendigo, Harley Hicks used a homemade baton made of copper wire wrapped in tape to bludgeon 10-month-old Zayden Veal-Whitting more than 30 times about the face and head during a burglary spree in June 2012.

A Victorian Supreme Court jury found Hicks guilty of murder, which prosecutor Michelle Williams SC described in a pre-sentence hearing as “an evil killing without any rational explanation”.

Ms Williams asked Justice Stephen Kaye to jail Hicks for life with a non-parole period.

But defence barrister David Gallowes urged the judge to consider other sentencing options, citing Hicks’ troubled childhood, drug and alcohol use, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anti-social personality disorder and youth.

“There is some prospect of rehabilitation even if the prognosis is poor,” Mr Gallowes said.

Justice Kaye said the crime fell into the most serious cases of murder.

Hicks had an extensive criminal record, with nine court appearances before his murder trial dating back to 2007 for crimes including wilful damage, thefts and burglaries, and had breached almost all orders made against him.

The last, a community corrections order for a 2011 armed robbery, was made two months before Zayden’s murder.