JonMarquis Stepich was murdered this week, and police say the 8-year-old’s stepfather is the one who slammed the boy onto the ground, causing his fatal injuries — all because the boy wouldn’t clean his room.
The boy had been on life support in a Pittsburgh hospital after suffering massive head injuries earlier in the week, and died on Thursday, CBS News reported.
JonMarquis was taken to UMPC McKeesport Hospital early on Monday by his mother and stepfather, 38-year-old Orlando Williams. His injuries were too severe and he ended up being airlifted to Children’s Hospital, where doctors found life-threatening injuries including a herniated brain stem and extensive bruising on his body.
Police claim that Orlando Williams beat the boy to death after the 38-year-old returned from a trip to West Virginia with a friend. A criminal complaint said Williams had been drinking during the trip and walked into the boy’s room late at night, tripping over a laundry basket.
This enraged Williams who allegedly woke JonMarquis Stepich and demanded that the boy clean his room, but returned to find JonMarquis sitting at the edge of the bed instead.
That set off Williams, CBS News reported.
“Williams told police he grabbed the child and slammed him on the bed. He told police his intention was to slam the child in the middle of the bed, but missed. The child fell to the floor and was unresponsive.”
Williams then carried the unconscious JonMarquis downstairs and put him in a chair, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. In the morning the boy was still unresponsive, prompting Williams and the boy’s mother to bring him to the hospital.
Stepich was placed on a ventilator and put in an intensive care unit, but after three days he died from the injuries. The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office declared Stepich’s death a homicide, noting that he died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Friends and family members are now pulling together after the murder of JonMarquis Stepich. His uncle, Raymond Stepich, started a GoFundMe campaign to help offset the costs of the boy’s funeral, where he also shared an update about Stepich’s death.
“Our 8 year old nephew was brutally beaten and was declared brain dead,” family members said in the page’s description. “This sudden tragedy has caused heartache and disbelief with the family. We are trying our best to pull the family together to cover the expenses of his funeral. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated and deeply dear to or hearts.”
The campaign brought in close to $2,000 on the first day alone and became something of a living memorial, allowing those close to the family and strangers from across the country to leave condolences and offer support to the grieving family.
Many others shared the fundraiser on social media, helping it spread further as the story of Stepich’s murder became national news.
The page also showed the family’s anger toward Orlando Williams, with Raymond Stepich calling him a “monster” for the alleged beating death of the 8-year-old boy.
“May my beloved nephew rest in peace! He was removed from machines at 4:43 6/23/2016 today declaring him dead. My heart is broken with no repair. A monster of a man took my precious baby, now may he rest in God’s loving hands!”
Orlando Williams has been charged with homicide, recklessly endangering another person, and endangering the welfare of a child for the murder of 8-year-old JonMarquis Stepich. He is reportedly being held without bail.
[Image via GoFundMe]