His stepdaughter asked for a snack, and what he did to her next will put him away for life


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On Friday, a Michigan judge found Thomas McClellan guilty of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence, after he admitted to fatally stabbing his 5-year-old stepdaughter because she asked him for a snack.

Back in November, the child interrupted McClellan’s midday nap while her mother was at work to ask for something to eat. He became so enraged by her request that he stabbed her at least five times. Afterwards, he wrapped her body in sheets, doused it with vodka and set it on fire in attempt to conceal what he had done.

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McClellan surrendered to police hours later and admitted to the crime in a taped confession. In addition to being found guilty of murder, he was also found guilty of first-degree child abuse and first-degree arson.

“What the defendant did on November 1, 2016 will never be understood, no matter how many times (McClellan) gives his explanation for it,” Ingham County Circuit Judge Joyce Draganchuk said before announcing the verdict. “It is simply inexplicable.”

McClellan’s attorneys argued that he was a good step-father who simply snapped that day.

“If you look at the circumstances surrounding this killing and ask when did the defendant premeditate, when did he reflect, when did he have a time to think twice?” Ingham County Assistant Prosecutor Elizabeth Allen said. “Every step of the way. Because before he knocked to the ground a 40-pound 5-year-old girl, he had time to think.”

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