Elkville man sentenced to 80-years for beating death of 2-year-old boy

JACKSON COUNTY — A 27-year-old Elkville man was sentenced Tuesday to 80-years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the 2012 beating death of his then girlfriend’s 2-year-old little boy.

Jarrod W. Rudder was sentenced Tuesday in Jackson County Court, after a jury found him guilty in June of First Degree Murder in the death of 2-year-old Michael Pulliam.

Pulliam was found unresponsive at his Elkville home in April 2012, with Rudder first telling police the child had fallen in the bathtub. After giving police several conflicting accounts of what happened, Rudder admitted to swinging the child by the arm, casing the toddler to hit his head on a lamp and on a wall.

Pulliam died at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri two days after emergency crews responded to the home. An autopsy ultimately revealed the child suffered several injuries, including to the nerves in his brain, rib fractures and abdominal hemorrhaging.

During Rudder’s trial, medical experts testified the injuries were not the result of a ground level fall but were consistent with abuse and inflicted trauma. Witnesses also testified that Pulliam was not injured before his mother left for work and was walking and talking without any noticeable issues.

Rudder must serve100 percent of his 80-year prison term, and must also register with the Illinois Murderer and Violent Offenders Against Youth Registry.