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Mother Charged with Abuse Decides to Remove...

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CHAPEL HILL — A man charged in the beating death ofhis girlfriends toddler in made his first appearance in court Thursday.

Anthony Tyrone Bennett, 27, now faces one count of felony childabuse and one count of murder, in connection with the death of 2-year-oldDevon Hunter who died Tuesday. The boy's mother, Nadine Hunter,alsocharged with felony child abuse, decided to remove Devon from lifesupport. The toddler had been in the pediatric intensive care unit at UNCHospitals for 29 days.

An autopsy showed he had several broken bones and brain damage.

Nadine Hunter, was taken from her jail cell to UNCHospitals, where authorities say she went to his bed to tell him goodbyeand to give hospital officials permission to remove him from life-supportmachines. 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 thedoctors recommended.

Authorities say the beatings took place in the couple's Knightdalemobile home more than three weeks ago. The child was admitted to WakeMedical Center because he was having seizures believed to have beenbrought on by multiple head and bodily injuries. He was later moved to UNCHospitals.

In addition to severe head injuries, the boy had a broken arm, a brokenleg and two broken ribs, all injuries the police believe went untreatedfor months. He was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 9.

Hunter and Bennett are being held in Wake County. Bennett has beendenied release on bond, and Hunter's bond is set at $75,000. The pairwere arrested Oct. 1.

Assistant Wake County District Attorney Shelley Desvousges says shesees no justification for Hunter being charged with murder, but she saysHunter could face additional charges.

Raleigh police are now consulting with the district attorney'soffice regarding additional charges against Hunter.

Raleigh Police Captain T.S. Matthews explains that Hunter was chargedbecause she did nothing to end the abuse of her son.

Authorities say Hunter made no deal with authorities in exchange forher decision to cooperate with the hospital. Her two other children, an infantand a 5-year-old, are in the custody of the Department of Social Servicesand have been placed in foster homes.

An autopsy is within the next two days.

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