A Florida man stands accused of brutally beating a 2-year-old with a coat hanger because the boy had difficulty pronouncing his sister’s name.
David Lee Sinnett was arrested this week of whipping the boy with a coat hanger and fracturing the boy’s orbital bone between his right eye and nose. The injuries are so severe that the boy could have permanent eye damage or even lose the eye, the Huffington Post reported. The beating allegedly took place because the boy, who had a speech impediment, was mispronouncing his sister’s name.
Sinnett’s relationship to the boy was not disclosed, but a relative told investigators that he “always messes with the boy,” the Sun Sentinel reported. The boy’s mother told police she saw Sinnett hit her son on the back and buttocks with the hanger, but left the room when the boy received the injuries to his face. Police said Sinnett admitted he is frustrated with the boy’s inability to pronounce his sister’s name, saying the boy “does not try.”
In his first court appearance on a closed-circuit feed from the Polk County Jail, Sinnett ignored his lawyer’s request to keep quiet and proclaimed his innocence, The Ledger reported.
“Y’all just arrested me for nothing,” Sinnett shouted, adding, “It’s a setup, I know what’s going on.”
Sinnett has been to the Polk County Jail on eight prior occasions and has a total of 15 years worth of felony convictions, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reported. He was arrested in 2005 for second degree murder and attempted second degree murder, serving five years for those crimes before being released in May 2010.
Sinnett is charged with aggravated child abuse for the brutal beating and faces 30 years in prison if convicted.
UPDATE: Police have also charged 29-year-old Arlene Tilson with child neglect and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for failing to report the abuse or take the child to the hospital. The report did not note her relation to the child, whose identity was withheld.