Police in Birmingham, Ala. have charged an 8-year-old boy with murder in the beating death of a 17-month-old baby girl after their mothers left the young children at home, unsupervised, to party at a nightclub.
The toddler child, Kelci Lewis, was found dead in her crib on Oct. 12. Police say the baby died from blunt force trauma to the head and damage to her internal organs. The unidentified 8-year-old, the oldest of six children, had been left in charge of the baby. When she would not stop crying, the young child began to beat her.
Kelci’s mother, 26-year-old Katerra Lewis, has been charged with manslaughter. She was released on a $15,000 bond. The mother of the 8-year-old child has not been charged. AL.com reports:
“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. 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,” Roper said.
According to a report from AL.com, Lewis and baby Kelci were staying at the friend’s home temporarily while they waited for their Section 8 housing. Kelci was left in the house with five other children between the ages of two and eight. The 8-year-old, after beating Kelci, placed her back in the crib. Lewis and her friend did not return to the house until 2 a.m. It wasn’t until 10:45 a.m. that Lewis noticed the baby was injured. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, but pronounced dead just minutes later.
A 6-year-old left in the care of the child who killed Kelci gave an account of the incident that matched with the baby’s injuries, Birmingham police spokesman Lt. Sean Edwards said.
Katerra Lewis attended a vigil held Oct. 20 at Avondale Park but was too distraught to speak to the group. They lit candles and released white balloons in Kelci’s memory. The day after the vigil, Katerra Lewis posted on her Facebook that she was suffering following the loss of her child. “I keep asking can dey bring u back and take me instead.”
DHR spokesman Barry Spear said the agency had no prior involvement with Katerra Lewis or Kelci. Privacy laws, he said, prevent him from commenting about the 8-year-old suspect. Grandmother Waynetta Callens told AL.com today that she disputes what police are saying happened. She insists that there was another adult in the home with the children. “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 said. “If you don’t know the real story, keep your mouth closed because you don’t know what happened.”
The boy is now in the custody of the Department of Human resources. The other children in the home have also been removed.
SOURCE: AL.com | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform