Spencerville man sent to prison for life for killing baby


Clayton gets life in prison for killing 17-month-old Xavier Wurth

By Greg Sowinski - [email protected]



Tears run down Alexis Long’s face as she tells a judge Thursday her life was forever changed when Christopher Clayton killed her son in January. Clayton was sentenced to life in prison.

Tears run down Alexis Long’s face as she tells a judge Thursday her life was forever changed when Christopher Clayton killed her son in January. Clayton was sentenced to life in prison.


Greg Sowinski | The Lima News

Christopher Clayton listens to testimony Thursday at his sentencing hearing for killing a 17-month-old boy in January. Clayton was sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.

Christopher Clayton listens to testimony Thursday at his sentencing hearing for killing a 17-month-old boy in January. Clayton was sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.


Greg Sowinski | The Lima News

Xavier Wurth, 17 months, was beaten to death in January. The man who killed him was sentenced to life in prison Thursday.


Greg Sowinski | The Lima News

Byron Wurth tells a judge Thursday what his son meant to him during the sentencing hearing for Christopher Clayton. Clayton was convicted of aggravated murder in the death of 17-month-old Xavier Wurth.


Greg Sowinski | The Lima News

LIMA — A judge heard about the bright smiling face of a little boy with blue eyes who became the center of attention wherever he was.

The judge also learned the brutal way Christopher Clayton robbed 17-month-old Xavier Wurth of his life when he beat the toddler to death earlier this year.

Xavier’s father, Byron Wurth, spoke of the magical moments when he held his son just after his birth and during the 17 months of his son’s short life.

“He just enchanted everyone he came in contact with. He truly was the picture-perfect toddler and deserved a long and happy life,” Wurth said. “I was really looking forward to watching my son grow up.”

Clayton beat Xavier to death Jan. 15 inside a Spencerville home, where Clayton lived with Xavier’s mother, Alexis Long. Clayton was left to watch the toddler while Long was at work.

Clayton pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no chance for parole.

Clayton originally told authorities the child choked on his own vomit, but that did not match the extensive injuries found during an autopsy.

Wurth also told Clayton he should have protected Xavier at all cost, not harm him.

“He murdered a defenseless little boy,” Wurth said. “Xavier deserves justice.”

Tears ran down Long’s face as she told Judge David Cheney about her son and the hole left in her heart.

“Chris not only took my son away from me, but he took my entire life, forever,” Long said.

Long described Clayton as a father figure at times to Xavier, and she said it should have been his top priority to look out for the safety of Xavier, not harm him.

Clayton, 21, said he was sorry for killing Xavier, who he repeatedly called his son despite angering nearly everyone in the courtroom. He said he hoped someday he would be forgiven.

“I know this is not a situation that one can say I’m sorry and all is forgiven,” Clayton said. “No matter how many times ‘I’m sorry’ is said, it will not change the fact a child is dead.”

Cheney said the hearing, with the courtroom packed and many with tears running down their faces, was the saddest setting he’d witnessed in 42 years as an attorney. Cheney asked Clayton if he had a reason for killing the toddler.

“Mr. Cheney, sir, I can’t claim that I understand it all myself,” Clayton said.

Cheney said he doubted Clayton had an answer but wanted it out if there was one.

“I’m not sure there’s a good answer to that question,” Cheney said.

Prosecutor Juergen Waldick couldn’t control his emotions and broke down in tears as he showed a picture and video presentation of Xavier’s life, including pictures of a smiling child enjoying the early moments of his life.

“This is Xavier, a happy little boy loved by his parents,” Waldick said, as he showed the first picture which brought many in the room to tears.

Two videos showed Xavier as happy as he could be. A final video, after Clayton came into his life, showed an emotionless child who often would have unexplained bruising.

“Something changed in his life. Just before Christmas that man, right there,” Waldick said pointing at Clayton, “started physically abusing the little boy.”

Clayton’s attorney, Bill Kluge, called Clayton’s aunt and a family friend to testify Clayton was never violent, but Waldick said that was not true. He said Clayton not only beat Xavier the entire time he was around him but harmed animals and killed a dog.

“At first the defendant would just knock him down. He would walk by him and just knock him down. He would knock him off chairs and couches for no reason,” Waldick said.

The abuse progressed to Clayton violently hitting Xavier, Waldick siad. The night of the child’s death, Clayton grabbed the toddler and drove his head repeatedly into a concrete floor covered only by carpet, Waldick said.

By the time Xavier’s little heart beat for the last time, Waldick said the child’s little body was pummeled to the point it was the worst injuries, including multiple skull fractures, Waldick has viewed on a child in 30 years of prosecuting.

“On Jan. 16, Xavier got a new designation, A 41-15. It does not mean anything in the courtroom, but that number that (Clayton’s) actions caused Xavier to be assigned at the Lucas County Coroner’s Office,” Waldick said.

Tears run down Alexis Long’s face as she tells a judge Thursday her life was forever changed when Christopher Clayton killed her son in January. Clayton was sentenced to life in prison.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2015/09/web1_Chris-Clayton-sentencing-49-3.jpgTears run down Alexis Long’s face as she tells a judge Thursday her life was forever changed when Christopher Clayton killed her son in January. Clayton was sentenced to life in prison. Greg Sowinski | The Lima News
Christopher Clayton listens to testimony Thursday at his sentencing hearing for killing a 17-month-old boy in January. Clayton was sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2015/09/web1_Chris-Clayton-sentencing-84-3.jpgChristopher Clayton listens to testimony Thursday at his sentencing hearing for killing a 17-month-old boy in January. Clayton was sentenced to prison for the rest of his life. Greg Sowinski | The Lima News
Xavier Wurth, 17 months, was beaten to death in January. The man who killed him was sentenced to life in prison Thursday.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2015/09/web1_Xavier-Wurth3.jpgXavier Wurth, 17 months, was beaten to death in January. The man who killed him was sentenced to life in prison Thursday. Greg Sowinski | The Lima News
Byron Wurth tells a judge Thursday what his son meant to him during the sentencing hearing for Christopher Clayton. Clayton was convicted of aggravated murder in the death of 17-month-old Xavier Wurth.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2015/09/web1_Chris-Clayton-sentencing-39-3.jpgByron Wurth tells a judge Thursday what his son meant to him during the sentencing hearing for Christopher Clayton. Clayton was convicted of aggravated murder in the death of 17-month-old Xavier Wurth. Greg Sowinski | The Lima News
Clayton gets life in prison for killing 17-month-old Xavier Wurth

By Greg Sowinski

[email protected]

Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.

Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.

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