COLUMBIA, S.C. - A Columbia mother and father have been sentenced to life in prison for beating their 4-year-old son to death.

A Richland County jury deliberated just over an hour Wednesday before finding 28-year-old Robert Guinyard Sr. and 25-year-old Courtney Thompson guilty of homicide by child abuse.

Prosecutors say the couple's son was abused for months before he was beaten to death with a curtain rod in July because he went to the bathroom on himself.

The case has also brought criticism to the state Department of Social Services. Prosecutor Luck Campbell told jurors relatives reported potential abuse against the child several times in the months before his death, but the reports were not followed up.