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Brown sentenced to life in prison for Khaleesi's murder

Travis Ryan Brown pictured in a mugshot released by the sheriff's department in 2022.
Augusta County Sheriff's Office
Travis Ryan Brown pictured in a mugshot released by the sheriff's department in 2022.

One of two people convicted of killing a three-year-old girl outside Waynesboro was sentenced in the Augusta County Circuit Court on Friday afternoon. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Judge Shannon T. Sherrill sentenced Travis Ryan Brown to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2021 killing of Khaleesi Hope Cuthriell, plus an additional 20 year sentence for child abuse. Khaleesi had been living in the home that Brown shared with Candi Jo Royer. Brown was convicted of aggravated murder last August.

Aggravated murder has carried a mandatory life sentence in Virginia since the death penalty was abolished in 2021.

Khaleesi's mother, Amanda Mullen, fought through tears to deliver an impact statement about losing her daughter. She talked about trusting Royer and Brown to care for Khaleesi while she served a jail sentence.

"They lied to me, and they destroyed her," she said. "I don't know how anyone could be that heartless or that evil."

Brown tried to interject at one point during Mullen's statement and was silenced by the judge. Although he did not take the stand during his trial, he did read his own statement during Friday's hearing. In it, Brown claimed Royer was solely responsible for Khaleesi's death, and that he was unaware of the abuse because of his heroin addiction. Brown did admit he lied to law enforcement to interfere with the investigation. His attorney, Dana Cormier, said Brown maintains his innocence and plans to appeal his case.

Candi Jo Royer pled guilty to first-degree murder in September. Royer is scheduled to be sentenced on February 22nd. First-degree murder carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

Randi B. Hagi first joined the WMRA team in 2019 as a freelance reporter. Her writing and photography have been featured in The Harrisonburg Citizen, where she previously served as the assistant editor; as well as The Mennonite; Mennonite World Review; and Eastern Mennonite University's Crossroads magazine.
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