A North Texas man shot and killed his three-year-old stepson Tuesday because he was angry with him for jumping on the bed. George Coty Wayman, 18, was arrested and charged with capital murder and criminal trespass charges. The incident occurred in Clay County, Texas, not far from the Oklahoma border, in a remote area of the town of Bellevue.
Three-year-old Dominic Tra’Juan Castro was playing in a bedroom of his family’s fifth-wheel trailer in the rural Texas town and started jumping on the bed. Wayman scolded him and told him to stop doing it. It apparently didn’t work, because the child kept jumping. Wayman then pointed a handgun at the child and threatened that he would shoot him if he didn’t stop jumping. He fired off one round, and the bullet struck his stepson in the back of his head, ultimately killing him.
People magazine reports that the entire situation unfolded inside the trailer, with adult witnesses present. The story changed from the time the call was originally placed for help and the time that investigators had the opportunity to gather more details. According to local station Fox 4KC, the boy was airlifted to a local hospital, United Regional Health Care System in Wichita Falls, 40 miles away, for treatment. Sadly, the boy died the following morning.
After a call was placed to 9-1-1 at around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, police responded and were told that Wayman’s stepson had accidentally shot himself. They were initially told that the boy’s movements while jumping on the bed caused the weapon to discharge. One witness told police that, when the boy jumped on the bed, he accidentally landed on the gun, causing it to go off. Clay County, Texas Court records show that police soon learned otherwise.
When they began to question the witnesses who were present, including the toddler’s mother and other adults, they were able to get the rest of the story and determine that the man had killed his stepson. Stories from eye witnesses weren’t matching up with what they discovered while investigating the evidence. They were eventually told by the eye witnesses that Wayman had killed his stepson by pointing the gun purposefully at him and firing the weapon.
Relatives of the boy have said that the boy’s mother did not want to be interviewed by the reporters on scene. The yard out in front of the trailer was littered with toys, and plenty of concerned neighbors gathered nearby as they learned of the situation. They expressed shock and outrage after learning the man had killed his stepson. In a story by Fox News, one neighbor, a man named Mathew Biehl, could hardly believe what had happened.
“Wow…I would’ve never thought in my life I would see something like that happen around here especially in a peaceful little place like this.”
Clay County Texas Sheriff Kenny Lymons had revealed the fact that the man had actually killed his stepson, as opposed to the initial story of the boy shooting himself on accident. Wayman is being held on $550,000 bail, according to the arrest affidavit. There has been no definitive answer to whether or not he has yet retained an attorney.
People magazine has also reported that the man wasn’t arrested until Wednesday morning, shortly after the toddler was pronounced dead. It’s still unclear exactly when the police were told by the eye witnesses that Wayman was the one who pulled the trigger and not the child, since the arrest didn’t occur until the next day. He was initially charged at about 6:30 p.m.on Tuesday with capital murder, since the victim was under the age of six.
One witness was one of the people who had originally told police that the boy accidentally shot himself after landing on the weapon. Authorities in Texas have not yet said if the witness will be charged for lying to police instead of admitting that the man had killed his stepson.
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