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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]
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