Casey Veal’s 10-month-old son was beaten with a homemade baton over 30 times before being stabbed 32 times. She finally speaks out about her son’s brutal murder two years later with 60 Minutes.
In June of 2012, Casey and her two sons – Xavier, three, and 10-month-old Zayden – were asleep when a drug-crazed stranger, Harley Hicks, 19, entered their Bendigo home.
Before robbing the home of only sunglasses and a wallet, Hicks — who was addicted to ice — went into Zayden’s room, turned the baby monitor off, and began beating him with his homemade baton over 30 times. Afterwards, he stabbed him 32 times.
— PA Real Life (@PA_Real_Life) February 12, 2015
When Casey awoke, she realized that her belongings were missing. After looking through her house, she went to Zayden’s room to find that he had been badly beaten to the point where he was almost unrecognizable.
“It tortures because it’s something that’s always like – why me? Why our house? Why our Zayden?” Casey said fighting through tears.
“My son was murdered so he [Hicks] could get a hit of ice. That’s it.
“When I walked over to the cot, I pulled the blankets back and that’s when I saw his face and there was blood everywhere underneath him.”
Zayden suffered a crushed skull, broken collar bone, and a broken rib. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital where he later died.
“They told me he was gone, so I just asked them if I could have him, I just wanted to hold him,” Casey said.
“I didn’t want him to be alone in this big bed with all these tubes. I just sat and cried.
“I’m so sorry that I failed. My only job as your mum was to look after you and I didn’t.”
Hicks was found guilty of the crime after his DNA was found on the baton – along with Zayden’s – that he used to kill the Casey’s son.
— Nine News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) February 11, 2015
During his sentencing, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kaye told him that “It is almost unthinkable that any human being could have carried out such a sickening crime that you have committed. What you did was totally and utterly evil.”
“He was utterly harmless, defenseless and helpless,” Kaye continued. “Any human being with even a shred of decency and humanity could only feel compassion, tenderness, and protectiveness towards an infant in those circumstances.”
“By contrast, you inflicted a brutal bashing, with a lethal instrument, on that baby. You crushed his skull, you savagely beat him with at least 30 blows.
“If that constituted your motive for killing Zayden, then you murdered an innocent child so that you could escape the premises with the valuable items that you had stolen from it.
“On the other hand, if that was not your motive, then your murder of Zayden was simply an act of unmitigated evil committed by you for the sheer sake of it.”
In 2014, Hicks was sentenced to life in prison and will not be eligible for parole until after 32 years.
[Image courtesy of Brandon Anderson/Flickr]