Wednesday, April 25, 2018
News Roundup

After boy’s fatal beating, Hillsborough deputy looked in, thought he was asleep


TAMPA — A deputy investigating a child abuse tip early Saturday looked through the doorway of a quiet Seffner motel room to see a bed full of children who appeared to be asleep.

Their mother’s boyfriend, Jack Junior Montgomery, gave assurances that everything was fine. The deputy left, unaware that 7-year-old Brice Russell was unconscious after a fatal beating, according to court records.

Montgomery, now charged with murder, didn’t call paramedics for nearly 10 hours and by then, nothing could be done.

Those details came to light in court documents filed Tuesday in the state’s criminal case against Montgomery, 31, who was watching the children from about 5:30 p.m. Friday while their mother worked overnight.

Donya Shenita Russell, 28, had been evicted in November from a Riverview apartment, records show. The family was staying at the Master’s Inn, 6010 County Road 579.

On Friday night or early Saturday, Brice’s siblings awoke to thumping noises and the sound of him crying, they later told detectives. They said Montgomery punched Brice in the face and abdomen and ordered them to hit him, too. One boy said Montgomery picked up Brice and hurled him into a cabinet "so high he hit the cabinet, fell to the ground, and never woke back up," the affidavit said. The boy said blood came out of Brice’s mouth and nose.

Afterward, Montgomery washed Brice’s face and placed him in bed with his siblings, the report said.

A guest in a nearby room walked to the motel office and reported hearing loud yelling coming from room 205. The guest said an adult male shouted "beat the kid" and "push the kid over here," according to a criminal affidavit.

A motel employee called 911 at 12:32 a.m. Saturday to ask for a welfare check.

Deputy Trevor Adams arrived about 1 a.m.

Montgomery answered the door and pushed it open enough so that the deputy could see the back bed, the report said. The room was quiet. The children appeared to be asleep.

He told the deputy the noise had been from music.

"Deputy Adams did not enter the room at that time and cleared the call with no further investigation," the report said.

It’s unclear whether Brice might still have been alive when Adams looked in.

"We are currently reviewing the circumstances that occurred that night, and all of that is part of the investigation," said sheriff’s spokesman Danny Alvarez.

Morning came. Just after 10 a.m., Dana Stewart, 52, who has been staying at the motel for about a month, said he left his own room to smoke a cigarette. Stewart said he saw Montgomery and two stoic-looking boys sitting on a staircase leading to the second floor.

About 15 minutes later, Montgomery knocked on Stewart’s door. Montgomery said Brice wasn’t breathing and asked to borrow Stewart’s cellphone.

"He said the kids were rough housing the night before," Stewart said. "He was talking normal and calm. I’ve got kids, and I wouldn’t be calm if one of them stopped breathing."

Stewart followed Montgomery into the hotel room and saw a motionless child on the floor, Stewart said. Montgomery got CPR instructions on the phone.

"He was pumping on the kids chest and blood kept coming out," Stewart said.

Montgomery later told detectives that he had picked up Brice and had thrown him on the bed for getting up to get a cookie. Montgomery is 6-foot-2 and 270 pounds. He said Brice’s head hit a headboard, but that he had rubbed the boy’s head and he seemed okay.

Brice’s body was cold and rigid by the time paramedics were summoned. They took the child into an ambulance, but the ambulance never left the motel parking lot, Stewart said.

The Department of Children and Families had prior involvement with the family but there were no open investigations.

"The death of this child is sickening and we are appalled that someone would treat children this way," DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said in a statement. "DCF will continue to work with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office as they investigate this tragedy and hold those responsible for his death accountable. We will support Brice’s family as they grieve his loss."

Montgomery was charged with domestic battery in May 2006. Police said he punched a roommate twice in the eye while the victim was sleeping. Montgomery pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge.

In 2007, he was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. At the time, police said he was yelling at family members outside and challenged a person to a fight while an officer was present.

Senior news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Jonathan Capriel at (813) 226-3141 or [email protected]

 
Comments
Yelp search results reflect racist stereotype that Asian restaurants serve cat and dog

Yelp search results reflect racist stereotype that Asian restaurants serve cat and dog

A strange thing happened when typing "dog menu" into the restaurant ratings website and app Yelp. It automatically generated suggested searches. There were dog massage, hot dogs, pet groomers. Also: "dog meat." But it got more disturbing. Take Yelp...
Updated: 3 minutes ago
Hernando schools superintendent

Hernando schools superintendent "pink-slipped" by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

BROOKSVILLE e_SEmD A room full of people wearing purple erupted in frustration before Hernando County school officials Tuesday night, scolding Superintendent Lori Romano for her recent firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary, which has been struggl...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

BROOKSVILLE — A second district-wide survey to evaluate the performance of Superintendent Lori Romano soon will go out to about 3,000 Hernando County School District employees, giving them a chance to weigh in on the job she is doing.The instrument, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top 5 at noon: Yelp search results reflect racist stereotypes; psychological exam for Seminole Heights suspect; and more

Top 5 at noon: Yelp search results reflect racist stereotypes; psychological exam for Seminole Heights suspect; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:YELP SEARCH RESULTS REFLECT RACIST STEREOTYPE THAT ASIAN RESTAURANTS SERVE CAT AND DOGA strange thing happened when typing "dog menu" into the restaurant ratings website and app Yelp. It auto...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida leads other hurricane-prone states in quality of its building codes

Florida leads other hurricane-prone states in quality of its building codes

Florida has the strongest residential building codes among 18 coastal states, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. Florida’s rating is 95, almost three times higher than lowest-ranked Texas. Other states wit...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Study: Tampa Bay homes in once ‘redlined’ neighborhoods worth half those in other areas

Study: Tampa Bay homes in once ‘redlined’ neighborhoods worth half those in other areas

Times staffRedlining’ — banks’ refusal to make mortgage loans in certain areas — still has a huge effect on housing values even though the practice was banned 50 years ago. According to Zillow, a Tampa Bay house in a once-redlined area is worth less ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
We tried the new restaurants at Tampa International Airport, and we're full

We tried the new restaurants at Tampa International Airport, and we're full

When Tampa International Airport debuted in 1971, each terminal had a newsstand and a snack bar, called something kicky like Snack Bar.
Updated: 1 hour ago
College basketball commission wants NCAA to regulate agents

College basketball commission wants NCAA to regulate agents

RALEIGH, N.C.  — With agent conduct part of the federal corruption investigation into college basketball, the commission charged with finding reforms wants the NCAA to actively monitor agents and provide regulated ways for them to advise a...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Dade City may add code enforcement magistrate

DADE CITY — The city is poised to put more teeth into its code enforcement by setting up a system to handle major problem cases.Dade City Commissioners on Tuesday approved on first reading an ordinance that allows the city manager to place certain co...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The case for the Bucs and NFL draft prospect Derwin James

The case for the Bucs and NFL draft prospect Derwin James

The best weapon against the NFL's evolving offenses, Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher said, is a defender who can do it all — someone who can cover a tight end, shadow a receiver or blitz the backfield."The way the game is played now on defense," Fishe...
Updated: 2 hours ago