Day-Min Marshall died with fists clenched, apparently as he struggled to free himself from multiple wraps of duct tape around his wrists, thighs and head. He was nine-years-old, less than five feet tall and weighed 55 pounds.

His killer, Matthew Dotson, about 6’2” and around 200 pounds, held the murder weapon, a rubber mallet, in hands labeled “P-U-R-E E-V-I-L” across the knuckles.

Dotson was convicted Thursday of two counts of first-degree murder, a jury finding he killed Day-Min and the boy’s mother, Misty Marshall, 32, the weekend after Thanksgiving, 2015.

Dotson, assuming the verdict is not reversed on appeal, will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Misty’s mother, Tracy Casas, is okay with that instead of the death penalty. The state opted not to seek capital punishment.

Cases said she and her surviving daughters did not ask for execution.

“What gives me a right to take life like he did?” asked Casas as she held back tears.

“I want to face my God, the same God he’ll one day face, with clean hands,” the grandmother of Marshall’s surviving children, said.

One of those children, Jasmine, now 15, was the pivotal element in the state’s case, providing the jury hard evidentiary testimony of Dotson’s alleged actions and threats toward her and her baby sister on the fatal day.

She testified she was given a choice by Dotson — help hide her mother’s body or face the same fate — then taken on a flight across the Deep South as the killer futilely sought to escape apprehension.

Defense attorney Bob Noel picked at the mostly circumstantial aspects of the state’s case and questioned the teenager’s credibility as he tried to raise reasonable doubt in minds of the nine women and three men on the jury.

He noted the coroner’s report mentioned no sexual assault of Day-Min. The state claimed that when the mother discovered that assault, she was killed. He questioned why she didn’t escape Dotson’s hold on her at any one of numerous stops between Vernon Parish and South Carolina, why she didn’t hear any of the events allegedly taking place in the trailer living room while she slept just yards away, and why Dotson didn’t just kill her outright.

That question, and others, was left unanswered by Dotson. Neither he nor anyone else was called to the stand by the defense, which is not required to put on witnesses.

Prosecutor Lee Hall, Jr. told jurors that to find Dotson not guilty would be a “shocking denial of what is.”

“I defy you to come up with another explanation of what happened,” he said.

He said the defense had to attack Jasmine’s testimony.

“He (Dotson) didn’t hurt her because she was his next sexual object. There is no floor to his depravity,” Hall said.

The prosecutor said Dotson’s actions met the aspects of first-degree murder as defined in Louisiana, not second-degree and not manslaughter. The jury, in fewer than 45 minutes, agreed.

Noel indicated he would appeal to the 3rd Circuit. During the trial, testimony paused a number of times when Noel objected to Hall questions, the aspects of those objections confidentially discussed in a sidebar discussion with Judge Vernon Clark and Hall.

 Any one or more of those might raise grounds for appeal, or there could be other issues. Such won’t be known until the defense files the petition.

Dotson was indicted in February 2016, according to court records, and pleaded not guilty at his March 1 arraignment. Trial was set for Oct. 17, 2016, but continued. A sanity commission was subsequently appointed after a competency plea. In July, 2017, the new trial date was set.