An 8-year-old boy has been charged with murder in Birmingham, Ala., where the police said Tuesday that he had “viciously attacked” a toddler whose mother had left children alone while she visited one of the city’s nightclubs.
The authorities announced their intention to prosecute the boy, who was not identified, nearly a month after the death of 1-year-old Kelci Lewis. The child was found unresponsive on Oct. 11, and a police spokesman said Tuesday that investigators believed the older boy had become violent because the toddler would not stop crying.
“The 8-year-old just recklessly, viciously dealt with the 1-year-old,” the spokesman, Lt. Sean Edwards, said at a news conference on Tuesday, one day after the girl’s mother surrendered to the authorities and was charged with manslaughter.
Lieutenant Edwards said that the mother, Katerra M. Lewis, and a friend had left the home where they were staying late on Oct. 10. Six children, none of them older than 8, remained at the home, and while Ms. Lewis was away, the lieutenant said, her daughter began to cry.
Soon, the police said, the boy began to beat the girl, to whom he was not related. She was found and pronounced dead the next morning, more than eight hours after investigators believe Ms. Lewis returned to the home. The police said the girl had suffered “severe head trauma, as well as major internal organ damage.”
The Jefferson County district attorney’s office declined to comment on Tuesday, and Ms. Lewis could not be reached.
Ms. Lewis was released from jail on Monday after posting a $15,000 bond, according to a Sheriff’s Office record. She was held, the agency said, for less than 90 minutes.
Lieutenant Edwards said officials thought that the charge against Ms. Lewis might signal to other parents that they could be prosecuted in similar cases.
“Most mothers that I know would have never done something like this,” he said, “but it definitely sends the message that this type of behavior, this type of irresponsibility on behalf of a parent is totally unacceptable.”
Source: The New York Times | ALAN BLINDER