updated 10/15/2007 9:02:30 PM ET 2007-10-16T01:02:30

A man convicted of murder for leaving a 5-year-old girl to be eaten alive by alligators in the Everglades was sentenced to death Monday.

A defense attorney said Harrel Franklin Braddy, who already served time in prison for attempted murder but was released early for good behavior, had befriended Shandelle Maycock and her daughter, Quatisha, through his involvement in church outreach programs.

Maycock testified that Braddy showed up at her house in 1998 and grew enraged when she asked him to leave.

Prosecutors said Braddy drove the girl’s mother to a remote sugarcane field, choked her to unconsciousness and left her to die. Maycock woke up bleeding and disoriented, but managed to flag down help.

Braddy drove the girl to a section of Interstate 75 in the Everglades known as Alligator Alley and dropped her in the water beside the road, prosecutors said. She was alive when alligators bit her on the head and stomach, a medical examiner said.

Authorities found the girl’s body two days later, her left arm missing and her skull crushed, prosecutors said.

Braddy, 58, was convicted in July of first-degree murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, and other charges.

Judge Leonard E. Glick also sentenced Braddy to three consecutive life terms for kidnapping and burglary with an assault charges. He also got 30 years in prison for the attempted murder of Maycock, 15 years for child neglect causing great bodily harm and five years for attempted escape.

“I’m saddened for both families,” said Braddy’s attorney, G.P. Della Fera.

Maycock sobbed during the initial sentencing as she told jurors how her life without her only child would never be the same. The girl she nicknamed “Candy” had just started kindergarten and loved writing her name and singing along with the church choir.

“The State is grateful that Quatisha’s small voice was finally heard, and that the defendant received the sentence he so rightfully earned,” prosecutor Abbe Rifkin said in a statement.

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