"We said from the beginning that we were not seeking to put this defendant away for life. We were not seeking to send him to an adult prison," Corey said. "And by the way, even on an adult sentence, he would have never served time with adults. He would have served time with other juveniles his own age."

Fernandez's mother, Biannela Susana, has already pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter in the death of her youngest son and faces 13-30 years in prison. Her sentencing is set for April 8. Susana was home at the time of the beating, along with Fernandez's two other half siblings, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the family moved to Jacksonville from Miami less than a year before the death of the toddler.

Fernandez is the youngest person ever indicted on a murder charge in Duval County. Last year, a legal team headed by Coxe took over the defense of Fernandez from the Public Defender's Office.

"We started out to salvage a normal adult life for Cristian Fernandez, and we accomplished what we set out to do," Coxe said.

"We believe this was the best way to resolve this case and reach the middle ground we were striving for since the inception -- a middle ground that would both punish and rehabilitate Cristian Fernandez," Corey said.