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Huntington man sentenced to prison for paddling girl 21 times said he was on heroin

A 34-year-old West Virginia man convicted of paddling a 10-year-old girl more than 21 times says he got carried away because he was on heroin. (Drug Enforcement Agency / MGN Online)

A 34-year-old West Virginia man convicted of paddling a 10-year-old girl more than 21 times says he got carried away because he was on heroin.

The Herald-Dispatch reports 34-year-old Derek Brandon Martin apologized in court on Friday before a judge sentenced him to up to five years in prison for child abuse resulting in bodily injury.

Martin was indicted in November after state troopers visited the home with the intent to remove four children. Troopers found a paddle with the victim's name on it and lettering saying it was the victim's "best friend." State police photographed bruises on the victim.

Assistant Prosecutor Kent Bryson said the child was hit 21 times with the paddle, arguing it was abuse, not punishment. Bryson said the victim is now in a loving home.

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