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Father convicted of killing son for F grade in school

Jennifer Larino NOLA.com - Furnell Daniel Sr., the Waggaman man accused of fatally beating his 14-year-old son for making poor grades in school, was convicted of manslaughter early Saturday (Nov. 18) after a jury deliberated for about six hours. He faces a prison sentence of as long as 40 years, less than the life term that was mandatory had he been convicted as charged of second-degree murder.

Daniel, 45, took the witness stand Friday, admitting he was wrong to use a wooden board from a baby crib to beat his son, Jalen Daniel. The boy suffered skull fractures, a broken wrist, a fractured knee cap and bruising all over his body. Daniel told the court he should have sought help for his son sooner.

"My son's gone. My son's gone. I ain't worried about no sympathy. I've got to face this every day of my life. I've got to still live with it," Daniel said, crying in 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna. "It's my fault."

Daniel was the only witness to testify for the defense during the four-day trial. It ended when an 12-person jury handed up the manslaughter verdict around 1:30 a.m.

Daniel said the Feb. 5, 2016, beating happened at the family's home on Clifford Court after Jalen arrived with an F grade in his social studies class. The boy had made a B earlier in the semester, and Daniel grew frustrated, pulling a 4-foot-long board from a crib to administer the beating as punishment.

The two struggled. Afterward Daniel could see Jalen was injured, but he waited about 19 hours before dialing 911 for help. Jalen died after two days in the hospital.

Sentencing is scheduled Nov. 27.

An earlier version of this report incorrectly reported two witnesses were called by the defense. Daniel was the only witness called by the defense.

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