Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Woman accused of taunting ex-boyfriend with faked photos, texts of child abuse

ST. PETERSBURG — Brittany Lester wanted her baby's father to believe she was torturing, even killing, their 1-month-old child, according to police.

So she sent him pictures and gruesome text messages documenting the abuse she said she was committing, police said.

Lester, a 20-year-old mother of two, was arrested Wednesday night at the Bayway Inn motel, 4400 34th St. S. Her ex-boyfriend, Donald Callaway, 21, called authorities to say Lester was abusing their baby, but police found the boy uninjured.

Police spokesman Mike Puetz said that in a series of text messages Lester told Callaway she did not want the baby, made several references to the infant dying and said she was going to "squeeze him until he's gasping for air," "urinate in a bottle and feed it to him" and "put him in the dresser and slam it."

The messages were accompanied by equally disturbing images, police said, of the baby upside down in a trash can, shoved under two motel mattresses and lying down with a cell phone charger in his mouth.

According to a police report, one picture showed Lester apparently choking the child, and another showed the baby with a plastic bag over his head.

Lester was charged with aggravated child abuse and held without bail.

When police arrived at the room, Puetz said, they found Lester, the infant, her 3-year-old daughter and a man.

Earlier, Lester told Callaway that she was choosing the man, Marcus Russ, 21, over him and their baby, according to a police report. Lester said she would rather have a child with Russ because he "has a job and money and his own car," Puetz said.

Callaway and Lester rented the motel room, the spokesman said, because Lester's mother would not allow Callaway to visit his son in her home, where Lester was living.

Police said the onslaught of messages began when Callaway left the room after Lester became enraged over another woman calling Callaway's cell phone.

The infant and the 3-year-old girl were placed in the custody of Child Protection Services. Puetz said Lester's mother declined to take custody of the children, who appeared to be uninjured.

The spokesman said Lester told police the photos were meant to be a joke.

Woman accused of taunting ex-boyfriend with faked photos, texts of child abuse 08/18/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 18, 2011 10:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  2. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy


    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  4. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)


    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  5. Chemical industry insider now shapes EPA policy


    WASHINGTON — For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

    This is the Dow chemical plant near Freeport, Texas. Before the 2016 election, Dow had been in talks with the EPA to phase out the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is blamed for disabilities in children. Dow is no longer willing to compromise.