An eight-year-old Alabama boy has been charged with murder after beating a one-year-old girl to death to stop her crying while her mother was out partying at a nightclub.
According to Yahoo News, the murder took place last month at the victim’s home, while her mother, identified as 26-year-old Katerra Lewis, went out with her friends.
The baby, named Kelci Devine Lewis, and the eight-year-old boy, whose name has not been released, were two of six children, ages two through eight, who were left alone for hours in Birmingham, Alabama. The children were reportedly left alone from the hours of 11:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. on October 11.
According to AL.com, the boy allegedly beat the baby to death because she wouldn’t stop crying. He then placed her back in her crib, where her mother found her unresponsive at approximately 10:45 a.m. the next morning. Police responded to the home on Second Avenue South and took Kelci to the Children’s of Alabama hospital where she was pronounced dead at 11:07 a.m.
— jonestowne (@jonestowne) November 11, 2015
Birmingham police spokesman Lt. Sean Edwards said Kelci had visible injuries to her body, and she ultimately died from blunt force trauma to the head and several internal injuries.
“It is believed that while the mother and friend were at the club, the 8-year-old viciously attacked the 1-year-old because the 1-year-old would not stop crying,” Edwards said. “The 1-year-old suffered from severe head trauma as well as major internal organ damage which ultimately led to her death.”
“This is one of the most heartbreaking investigations that I have seen in over 30 years of my law enforcement career,” said Birmingham 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,” Roper said. “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.”
— Canoe (@Canoe) November 11, 2015
Kelci’s grandmother Waynetta Callens said her daughter and granddaughter were not living at the home where Kelci was killed. She said they were staying there with friends temporarily while Katerra waited for Section 8 housing for her and her daughter.
The website reports that the six-year-old child was interviewed at Prescott House, and was able to tell the authorities what had happened that night. The police were then able to determine that his statement was consistent with Kelci’s injuries. The eight-year-old boy has now been charged with murder, and is being held in the custody of the Department of Human Resources. Edwards said the Birmingham Police Department has never charged someone so young with murder before. Alabama will not let any child under the age of 14 to be tried as an adult, CNN reports.
Katerra Lewis turned herself into the Jefferson County Jail on Monday afternoon. She was released several hours later after posting her $15,000 bond. She is being charged with manslaughter over what Edwards described as her “reckless” actions.
On October 20, a candlelight vigil was held for Kelci at Avondale Park, led by Kelly Lewis of New Day-New Stand. Dozens of people who were close to the family, including Katerra, attended to remember the little girl.
— Jason Wells (@JasonBretWells) November 10, 2015
“She was loved by so many,”said Callens. “It’s just a hard time right now.”
Callens also made it known that she does not agree with what the police say took place that night. She insists that her daughter would not have left Kelci alone, and there had to have been an adult in the home.
“Katerra is not the type of parent that they are trying to portray her as,” Callens said. “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.”
“People are already talking, I know they are,” she added. “If you don’t know the real story, keep your mouth closed because you don’t know what happened.”
[Photo via Shutterstock]