Man who shot boy in the face sentenced to 45 years

The man found guilty of shooting an 8-year-old boy in the face was sentenced to 45 years in state prison Friday.

Brian Cloninger shot Daniel D.J. Maiden, Jr. while he was playing outside of a Dallas apartment complex two year ago.

Witnesses testified that Cloninger was intoxicated at the time of the shooting.

On Friday, Cloninger testified in his own sentencing. He cried from the defense table and begged Maiden's family for mercy.

"I apologize," said Cloninger. "I hope the family can forgive me."

Defense attorneys hoped for a minimum sentence of five years, testifying that Cloninger was a good man who made a stupid decision under the influence of alcohol.

Cloninger's father said that his son wanted to return to work and make restitution to the victim. He said his son would never intentionally hurt anyone, especially a child.

Maiden, who is now 9, lost the entire bottom part of his left jaw and all bottom and top teeth except for one. Doctors say the shooting will leave him permanently disfigured.

Maiden's grandmother, Sharon Locklin, told the court that the boy's emotional damage may be greater than his physical.

"He's afraid of any white man that comes near him, and we teach him you know everybody's not bad," said Locklin. 

Cloninger will serve 45 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for injury to a child.