A St. Petersburg man has been arrested on a first-degree murder charge in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s 8-year-old son in Hillsborough County last year.
Tyrone Wayne Covington, 40, was booked at the Pinellas County jail Monday afternoon on a charge of first-degree murder.
The boy’s mother called 911 on Oct. 22 because her son was struggling to breathe and wasn’t responding. The boy was taken to Brandon Hospital, then taken by helicopter to All Children’s Hospital, Hillsborough sheriff’s officials said.
Doctors found “large areas of contusions, welts, scarring, and small lacerations on the child’s lower back and rear area,” sheriff’s officials said in a news release. The boy, whose name was not released, later died.
The boy’s mother told investigators that Covington “had abused the victim with a belt,” the news release states. An autopsy determined the boy died from blunt trauma and the death was ruled a homicide.
Hillsborough detectives obtained a warrant for Covington’s arrest on Monday and St. Petersburg police took him into custody
“This was not merely a form of punishment. The excessive beating this child endured ultimately led to his death,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister in a statement. “Our hearts ache as we investigate this horrific case of child abuse. While no punishment will ever bring this young child back, we hope a first-degree murder charge keeps this man where he deserves to be: jail.”