By Beth Germano

BOSTON (CBS) — The stepmother of a Roxbury boy beaten to death in 2016 has now pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter.

Kenai Whyte was in the care of 28-year-old Marie Buie on Jan. 31, 2016 when his lifeless body was found in the Roxbury home she shared with Kenai’s father.

kenai Stepmother Pleads Guilty In 2016 Death Of Roxbury Boy

Kenai Whyte. (Family photo)

The little boy died two days later.

Prosecutors described the brutal injuries he suffered including a broken neck, bruising behind both ears, contusions to his scalp and forehead and scratches on his body.

For the family it’s been a wrenching two-and-a-half years coming to terms with Kenai’s death and searching for a motive.

In Suffolk Superior Court on Friday, they didn’t hold back describing how their lives have been torn apart.

maria buie Stepmother Pleads Guilty In 2016 Death Of Roxbury Boy

Maria Buie enters the courtroom on Friday. (WBZ-TV)

“You now have to live with the fact that you killed an innocent human being who couldn’t protect himself from you,” said biological mother Ashley Young.

His grandmother Debra Morse Covington called Kenai her “best buddy.”

“He was my first gran, the focus of my life. You have left a void that can never be filled,” she said.

Buie declined to speak in court but her attorney Christopher Belezos offered a simple answer to her change of heart.

“She’s accepted responsibility and has made her apologies to all parties involved,” he said.

Under an agreement Buie, who had been charged with second degree murder, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter and has been sentenced to 9-12 years in prison.

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