YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Just before she was sentenced by a judge in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for the death of her son, Sharday Bing-Dixon had a message for her stepmother.

“Mom,” Bing-Dixon said. “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” her stepmother, who was sitting in the gallery, replied.

Bing-Dixon and her boyfriend were sentenced Thursday for the 2018 death of her 2-year-old son on the North Side.

Bing-Dixon, 35, the mother of Sebali Bing-Dixon, was sentenced to 20 years in prison by Judge Anthony D’Apolito after she pleaded guilty Feb. 15 to charges of permitting child abuse and involuntary manslaughter.

Her boyfriend, Derek Carter, 29, of Campbell, was sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty Feb. 11 to a second-degree felony charge of child endangering.

The two were sentenced in separate hearings.

Derek Carter

Assistant Prosecutor Caitlyn Andrews said Bing-Dixon died after being beaten when he became sick and messed himself.

Andrews said Sebali suffered a blow to his liver, which was the fatal one.

The boy died Oct. 4, 2018, at Akron Children’s Hospital after police were called to his West Dennick home because he was not breathing.

The two were not indicted until 2020. Indictments took so long because of the amount of time it took the Summit County Coroner’s Office to do the autopsy. Once that was completed, police had to serve a series of search warrants.

The autopsy found the boy died of “catastrophic injuries,” which included cuts to his liver and internal injuries. Bing-Dixon and Carter were the only two people present when the boy stopped breathing.

City police Detective Sgt. Chad Zubal, the lead investigator on the case, called Sebali’s injuries the worst he has ever seen in a law enforcement career that has spanned more than 20 years.

Andrews said Sebali had signs of past abuse, including bruises and burns on his genitals. She asked for a sentence of 22 years.

“This was not an isolated incident, Andrews said.

Defense attorney Rhys Cartwright Jones said his client suffers from a “sordid mental health history” and had survived several suicide attempts. She has a history of bad relationships with men, any one of which could have killed the boy, including Carter.

“I would not put it past any of those men — and my tongue recoils at the word men — to abuse this child.”

Kimberly Smith, Bing-Dixon’s stepmother who said she had raised 28 children, said Bing-Dixon was always troubled.

“I had trouble with Sharday because she had been abused in several different matters,” said Smith, who is blind and had to be helped to the podium to speak by court staff and sheriff’s deputies.

Judge D’Apolito said he wanted to be sure that it was Bing-Dixon who caused Sebali’s injuries, and after he read the reports in the case, he was convinced she was.

He also noted that Bing-Dixon took responsibility for her actions.

Carter’s sentence was agreed upon and was based upon a statement he made incriminating Bing-Dixon.

Carter apologized and asked for forgiveness.

“I accept my punishment as a man,” Carter said.

Judge D’Apolito said the full story of what happened might never be known.

“That little baby was defenseless. Helpless,” Judge D’Apoloto said. “His bruises were undeniable. He can never tell his story about what happened.”