A young Morton man was sentenced to 18 years in prison Monday for what his judge called the “horrific” beating he gave his 18-month-old niece for crying.

Seconds after Kahlus Adams, 21, heard his fate, he stood, turned to the toddler’s mother sitting behind him and, emotion overcoming him, said, “I’m really sorry. You were my family. I love you.” The woman thanked him.

That ended the three-hour sentence hearing that included Adams’ recorded demonstration, using a doll as a prop, of how he broke his young victim’s leg in half, broke an arm, banged her head against a freezer as he twirled her by the legs and dropped her on her head over several minutes.

“My mind didn’t know what my body was doing,” Adams told officers as a camera recorded his jail booking.

He pleaded guilty in September to three counts of aggravated battery to a child causing great bodily harm for the attack that took place on Aug. 11, 2017, in the apartment he shared with his then-wife.

The couple were watching the toddler and two siblings for their parents. Adams began the attack when, after his wife left for a doctor’s appointment, the victim began to cry. He threw a sippie cup that struck her in the face, according to court records.

Prior to the assault, he had no felony record.

In his sentencing, Tazewell County Circuit Judge Kurt Schoenbein cited that factor and a pre-sentence report recounting Adams’ behavioral struggles as a child with symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and depression. He never displayed violence, his parents testified in the hearing.

In an effort to meet entrance requirements for military service, Adams was not taking prescribed medicine to offset the ADHD symptoms, his father said. The resulting return of impulsive behavior was little excuse for his violence, Schoenbein said.

“Your (recorded) demonstration was horrific,” he said, and showed that Adams took time to inflict the injuries.

With 15 percent of his sentence reduced for good behavior, Adams will serve about 15 years, half of the maximum term available.