Mother Charged with Abuse Decides to Remove...
Posted October 9, 1996 12:00 a.m. EDT
CHAPEL HILL — A man charged in the beating death of his girlfriends toddler in made his first appearance in court Thursday.
Anthony Tyrone Bennett, 27, now faces one count of felony child abuse and one count of murder, in connection with the death of 2-year-old Devon Hunter who died Tuesday. The boy's mother, Nadine Hunter,also charged with felony child abuse, decided to remove Devon from life support. The toddler had been in the pediatric intensive care unit at UNC Hospitals for 29 days.
An autopsy showed he had several broken bones and brain damage.
Nadine Hunter, was taken from her jail cell to UNC Hospitals, where authorities say she went to his bed to tell him goodbye and to give hospital officials permission to remove him from life-support machines. Authorities charged Hunter with child abuse because they say she knew her boyfriend was abusing her son but did nothing to stop it.
Hunter's attorney, Jeff Ellinger, says Hunter wanted to do what the doctors recommended.
Authorities say the beatings took place in the couple's Knightdale mobile home more than three weeks ago. The child was admitted to Wake Medical Center because he was having seizures believed to have been brought on by multiple head and bodily injuries. He was later moved to UNC Hospitals.
In addition to severe head injuries, the boy had a broken arm, a broken leg and two broken ribs, all injuries the police believe went untreated for months. He was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 9.
Hunter and Bennett are being held in Wake County. Bennett has been denied release on bond, and Hunter's bond is set at $75,000. The pair were arrested Oct. 1.
Assistant Wake County District Attorney Shelley Desvousges says she sees no justification for Hunter being charged with murder, but she says Hunter could face additional charges.
Raleigh police are now consulting with the district attorney's office regarding additional charges against Hunter.
Raleigh Police Captain T.S. Matthews explains that Hunter was charged because she did nothing to end the abuse of her son.
Authorities say Hunter made no deal with authorities in exchange for her decision to cooperate with the hospital. Her two other children, an infant and a 5-year-old, are in the custody of the Department of Social Services and have been placed in foster homes.
An autopsy is within the next two days.