An eight-year-old Alabama boy – whose name is being withheld – is being charged with murder after beating to death a one-year-old girl left in his care while her mother went out to a nightclub with her friend, reported Alabama.com. On the night of October 11, 26-year-old Katerra Lewis of Birmingham dropped her daughter Kelci Devine Lewis, who had her first birthday in May, off at her friend’s home on 7100 block of Second Avenue South, in the care of five other children between the ages of 2 and 8.
When she returned at 10:45 a.m. the following morning, she discovered her daughter unresponsive in her crib. Birmingham police were called to the home and Kelci was rushed to Children’s of Alabama Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 11:07 a.m. It was alleged that, while Katerra and her friend – also the homeowner – were at a local nightclub, the eight-year-old boy brutally beat the baby to death because she wouldn’t stop crying, and afterwards he put Kelci in her crib until her mother returned and discovered her unresponsive.
Katerra Lewis charged with Manslaughter after leaving 1 yr-old home with kids while she went to a club & child died pic.twitter.com/Jc6n0b3kco
— Kelvin Reynolds (@Fox6Kelvin) November 10, 2015
“This is one of the most heartbreaking investigations that I have seen in over 30 years of my law enforcement career,” said police Chief A.C. Roper. “There are just too many deep rooted issues in this horrific crime. It’s extremely troubling from so many different angles and there are no law enforcement answers to prevent it.”
“We’ve been concerned about the kids and the future effect on their lives. The bottom line is an innocent young baby lost her life and that should be a wake-up call for our community.”
Birmingham police obtained information from a six-year-old, whose story matched the injuries the baby sustained during the brutal attack. One of the officers said, “The young witness was so clear about the details and the details kind of matched up with the bruises on the kids so we think that the details that the young kid shared with the investigator was accurate.”
All children were removed from the home on the night of the attack and have yet to be returned to their mothers, but the eight-year-old was taken to the Department of Human Resources, where he will be tried in family court for the murder of one-year-old Kelci Devine Lewis, according to the Guardian.
In an interview, Katerra’s grandmother Waynetta Callens stated that “Katerra is not the type of parent that they are trying to portray her as. We all will have our day in court. Never judge a book by its cover, which means don’t try to judge from the outside.” She also stated that the six children were not the only ones in the home; an adult was also present. She says, “People are already talking, I know they are. If you don’t know the real story, keep your mouth closed because you don’t know what happened.”
However, Katerra was charged with manslaughter following the death of her daughter, and she turned herself into the Jefferson County Jail. She was soon released after posting $15,000 bond – just in time to attend a vigil in honor of her daughter at Avondale Park on October 20. She is to make her first court appearance November 30 at 9 a.m.
“Charges have been brought forth, she’s made bond, she’s had a trial through the court, but her punishment is something I think she is going to have to live with for the rest of her life,” said Lt. Sean Edwards. “Her actions that night, choosing the club over taking care of her one-year-old is going to stick with her the rest of her life.”
Edwards went on to say that in all his years working in law enforcement, he has never had to charge someone as young as eight with murder. Attorney Eric Guster stated that the court will handle the eight-year-old murder suspect differently than they would an adult. He said, “The difference between an adult and a child being charged with murder is very important, children being charged with anything, the issue is to try and rehabilitate the child.”
“Juvenile court is designed to rehabilitate children, and make them better citizens before they’re adults, so it’s going to be very interesting how the court handles this one, being that it’s a murder charge.”
The investigation is ongoing. However, if anyone has any information on the case, investigators ask that you contact BPD Homicide Unit at 205-254-1764.
[Image via YouTube screen capture]