Daniel Pedraza, wearing the light green dress shirt, talks to his lawyers in the Drew County Courtroom just minutes after a jury sentenced him to life in prison.

Daniel Pedraza was sentenced Tuesday afternoon to life in prison for the February 2012 beating death of his 2-year-old stepdaughter, Aubriana Coke. Pedraza escaped a possible death sentence by pleading guilty to first-degree murder. Because of the guilty plea, there was no need for a guilt or innocence trial phase, only the penalty phase. A Drew County jury of 8 women and four men deliberated just under two hours before recommending that the 24-year-old Drew County man spend the rest of his life in prison.  Full coverage of Pedraza’s 2-day sentencing trial will be posted Wednesday on Seark Today.