Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa boy gets probation in Georgia death of infant cousin

The 12-year-old Tampa boy packed his suitcase before his sentencing Wednesday in Marietta, Ga., where he was convicted last month of battery in the death of his infant cousin. He could have spent the next two years in juvenile detention.

Instead, to the relief of his family, a judge sentenced him to two years of probation.

The boy, whose name is being kept secret by court order, was visiting relatives near Atlanta on July 4 when he got into a car with his mother's 22-year-old first cousin Brittiany Young and her 5-week-old daughter Millan. Young stopped at Target to get food and left the car running.

When she returned, she testified, the boy was playing on his cell phone. The radio was turned up. And the baby was limp. She died the following day.

Prosecutors called the boy a murderer. A medical examiner listed two types of brain hemorrhages, retinal hemorrhages, bruising and unrelated fractures on opposite sides of her head. The doctor said the baby could not have died in an accident, but must have been held firmly, shaken and slammed at least twice against a hard, flat surface.

Judge A. Gregory Poole ruled the boy must have committed some act of violence out of frustration with the crying infant. But he concluded that the boy didn't understand the horrific consequences of his actions, so Poole convicted him on two lesser counts of battery.

Had the boy been guilty of murder, he would have spent the next nine years in detention.

After receiving his verdict last month, the boy asked the judge if he could go home. The judge reserved that decision until Wednesday. The answer is yes.

The boy's Tampa grandmother, Joyce Hightower, told the Times she wept when she heard it. The boy told her, "Don't cry, it's over."

But Hightower doesn't think he understands the lasting effects of the events of this year. He needs counseling, she says. He's more distant and withdrawn, and at his great-aunt's home recently, he asked permission to go to the bathroom. He never used to.

"It's like he's afraid," she said. "He needs to be with family, and he needs a lot of love."

He will live with Felicia Blair, his great-aunt in Georgia, who has started looking for a psychologist and private school the boy can attend. Hightower said that people in Tampa are more likely to know the boy's history. She feels her sister's home is stable and that the boy will benefit from a two-parent household.

"It'll give him more of a sense of a fresh start," Hightower said. "He needs this."

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354.

Tampa boy gets probation in Georgia death of infant cousin 01/06/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 7, 2010 12:17am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  2. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    TAMPA

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  3. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  4. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”
  5. Rays journal: Ugly first inning dooms Andriese, Rays against Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday's game that RHP Matt Andriese was among the pitchers who would most benefit from a strong finish to the season.

    Matt Andriese has a tough first: hits to four of first five batters, leading to three runs, the only ones he gives up in six innings