8-year-old charged in beating death of 1-year-old

2015-11-11 12:48
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Birmingham - An 8-year-old boy is being charged with beating a 1-year-old girl to death while they were left home alone as their mothers went to a nightclub, Alabama police said on Tuesday.

Birmingham police spokesperson Sean Edwards said the boy beat and killed 1-year-old Kelci Lewis when she wouldn't stop crying. The mother of the toddler, 26-year-old Katerra Lewis, also is charged with manslaughter for her role in the death of her daughter.

"This is by far one of the saddest cases that I have witnessed and been a part of since I became a police officer," Edwards said. "This type of irresponsibility on behalf of a parent is totally unacceptable," he said.

Police said a murder warrant has been obtained for the boy, who is now in the care of Alabama's child welfare agency, the Department of Human Resources. His case will go through the family court system. There is no minimum age for prosecution in Alabama, said Tobie Smith, of the Legal Aid Society of Birmingham.

Severe head trauma

The 8-year-old was the oldest of six children left alone as his mother, who has not been charged or identified, and Katerra Lewis went to a nightclub on October 11, Edwards said.

A woman who answered a call to a number listed for Lewis referred questions to attorney Emory Anthony.

"The only thing I can say at this time is to allow the process to play out," Anthony said in an email. "I think there will be new information coming out at the hearing."

A 6-year-old who was in the home told police what happened and the details were consistent with the toddler's injuries, Edwards said.

Kelci Lewis suffered severe head trauma and major damage to her internal organs, Edwards said. Her body was found in her crib.

"I believe the 8 year-old is going to require some intense counseling for the next several years," Edwards said. "It's gonna take some extreme intervention."

Serious questions

Smith, who is also co-director of the Southern Juvenile Defender Centre, said she believes there "are going to be very serious questions about whether an 8-year-old has the rational capacity for the proceedings against him."

"They're gonna take a real look at whether maybe this is more a matter of parental culpability than child culpability," Smith said.

Kim Dvorchak, executive director of the National Juvenile Defense Center, agreed.

"Children themselves are not really designed for a court system, and our court system — even our juvenile court systems — are not designed for very young children," Dvorchak said.

Katerra Lewis' Facebook profile photo Tuesday was an image of Kelci that had been printed on the back of a shirt. Another photo posted to her page showed that a fish fry fundraiser had been planned for October 17 to cover Kelci's funeral costs.

Katerra Lewis has posted $15 000 bond and is expected to appear in court November 30, according to court documents.

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.