updated 12/15/2004 11:14:39 PM ET 2004-12-16T04:14:39

A man cried and apologized Wednesday as a judge sentenced him to die for raping his girlfriend’s 7-year-old daughter, beating her and drowning her in an abandoned well.

Fred Mundt Jr., 30, stopped short of admitting that he killed Brittany Hendrickson, and said he will appeal. Mundt was convicted in December, and the judge followed the jury’s recommendation that he be sentenced to death.

Brittany’s mother, Misty Hendrickson, and her three children lived with Mundt in Lebanon, a community of about 200 people about 80 miles southeast of Columbus.

She told authorities she left the children with Mundt while she played bingo. He first claimed the girl wandered away while he was asleep.

A psychologist testified in the trial’s sentencing phase that Mundt told her he raped Brittany and considered taking her to a hospital. Instead he stuffed her in the well about a mile away and threw rocks at her until she stopped screaming.

The coroner ruled that Brittany drowned in the well and had her skull broken from the beating. The coroner also found evidence of past physical and sexual abuse.

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