Thursday, October 13, 2005
Man gets life for killing boy over potty training
Houston - A Houston man received an automatic life sentence Wednesday after a jury convicted him of capital murder for the beating death of his girlfriend's 5-year-old son.
Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty against William Patrick Jefferson, 42, who was found guilty in the death of Anthony Brewer. Jurors deliberated for more than three-and-a-half hours before agreeing on the verdict.
Jefferson was accused of striking the boy with, or against, an unknown object. Prosecutors said he became enraged after the child defecated into a trash can at the family's home in the 400 block of East 43rd in northwest Houston.
The 5-year-old was "mentally slow" and had struggled with toilet training, Assistant District Attorney Mark Donnelly told jurors.
The boy had 88 bruises on his body and was barely alive when Jefferson carried him into Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital's emergency room April 24, 2004, prosecutors said. He died a short time later.
An autopsy showed he had suffered at least 10 blows to his head that were sufficient to cause death.
Jefferson initially claimed he had wrestled with the boy, then put him to bed for a nap and later found him unresponsive.
The boy's mother, described as mildly retarded, was in another room when the injuries were inflicted, authorities said.