Zachary Tricoche, a 24-year-old man from Pennsauken, New Jersey, has been charged for beating Jamil Baskerville Jr., a 2-year-old boy, to death, Fox News is reporting.
The toddler had woken up Saturday night after being startled by the 24-year-old man assaulting his mother. Tricoche was livid over the groceries his girlfriend, Shah, had purchased. The young boy, seeing his mother being shoved to the ground, had started to cry.
This enraged Tricoche, who allegedly told the little boy to “put his hands up” and fight him like a man. Zachary punched him with so much power that the child stumbled backward and crashed into the wall behind him.
Zachary Tricoche punched Jamil Baskerville Jr. two more times in the head. The boy struck the wall a second time and passed out. He was only three feet tall, weighed 29 pounds, and was four months shy of his third birthday. Shah had called 911 saying that the boy had vomited and was presently not breathing.
“My boyfriend is like trying to get him to wake up. He has vomit coming out his nose and mouth.”
The mother had pleaded for emergency dispatchers that would help save her little boy’s life. Zachary had also spoken on the hotline, asking for directions on how to perform CPR on the child. Jamil was taken to Cooper University Hospital, less than 30 minutes after the incident happened, but he died shortly afterward.
According to the coroner’s report, the cause of death was blunt-force trauma. He had taken multiple contusions to his head and chest as well as a deep laceration to his liver. There were also bruises on Jamil’s chest. His mother told authorities that Zachary had tried unsuccessfully to administer CPR.
Tricoche was arrested Monday on charges that included first-degree murder. He was arraigned before Judge Edward McBride on the following day. Shah said her boyfriend became aggressive after he complained that he did not like any of the groceries she had bought and had shoved her to the floor, which woke up Jamil.
Shah asked for Tricoche to be given life without the possibility of parole. Jamil’s grandfather Gerome DeShields said he would prefer if the state gave him the death penalty.
“He should be put to sleep, because he killed my grandson. He was just 2-years-old. There should be no reason that you want to hit him.”
Prosecutors believe that the odds are stacked against Zachary Tricoche based on “an excellent likelihood of conviction, linked to physical evidence” and a protracted criminal record that includes selling and buying drugs and trying to destroy the evidence. An anonymous source said that Shah’s live-in boyfriend had also physically assaulted the dead toddler’s siblings in the past.
The child killer was in court, shackled, and decked in a blue jumpsuit. He maintained a downward gaze throughout proceedings, answered only basic questions from the judge, and refused to enter a plea. More than a dozen court officers stood between Tricoche and Jamil’s sympathizers in the courtroom. One family member described Jamil Baskerville Jr. as a delightful child who enjoyed “everything that the average two-year-old enjoyed.”
Several residents have described the south Jersey area where the incident happened as amiable and quiet. Charles Mars, a resident on the street since 1953, said the place had changed in recent times and had inculcated plenty of young families.
A neighbor said he was home Saturday night when the police arrived in response to a call about an unresponsive child.
“It didn’t look good. I saw a stretcher come out. I’m so sad. My heart breaks for these people. I can’t even imagine.”
The presiding judge set bail at $1 million. Zachary Tricoche is scheduled for sentencing on September 16.
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