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1. Step-father found guilty of boy’s death after claiming he died from falling off a pogo-stick.
Warning: This item deals with child abuse and may be distressing for some readers.
A Christian hip-hop music producer has been found guilty of the murder of his partner’s seven-year old son.
Kodi Maybir pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis of criminal negligence but denied murdering the boy who died at his Oatley music studio in Sydney’s south in May 2013.
He had previously claimed the boy fell off a pogo stick.
Following two days of deliberations, yesterday the Supreme Court jury found him guilty of the higher charge of murder as well as several other offences against the seven-year-old boy including two counts of assault and one count of producing child abuse material.
The boy’s mother, Kayla James, is in jail after pleading guilty to her son’s manslaughter in June. She received a discount on her sentence for manslaughter for agreeing to give evidence at her former partner Kodi Maybir’s trial.
During the trial Kayla James admitted hitting her son with a plank of wood while Maybir held him down.
Maybir, a Christian music producer, used boot camp-style exercises to discipline the three children, and that the couple withheld food and water from him as punishment.
Maybir would make the children run on the beach and called them “soldiers.”
“He would be forced to endure, to keep running,” James said.
Crown prosecutor Christopher Maxwell QC asked: “How did this make you feel?”
She replied: “I felt hopeless.”
Mr Maxwell said: “Did you ever say to Mr Maybir, ‘this is too much for him’?”
“Not at that time,” she answered.
During the trial the court heard Maybir assaulted the boy on numerous occasions, made him wear a nappy and shaved off his eyebrows so he would look like the character Neo from The Matrix.
Ms James then recounted how on May 20, 2013, the seven-year-old was made to squat against a wall for up to three hours with his arms outstretched as punishment for “lying”.
She says that Maybir read her son passages from the Bible while the little boy squatted.
Maybir admitted smoking a few “cones” before meting out his form of “discipline” on the boy. James told the court during her evidence that the next morning as she was making breakfast she heard a “scratch and thud as if something was being scraped against the floor”.
“I thought of Mr Maybir getting upset because there was noise already,” she told the court.