By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A North Philadelphia couple has been ordered held for trial on first-degree murder charges in the death of the woman’s five-year-old son, who was abused so badly that authorities say there was no part of him that wasn’t injured.
Even sanitized, the facts are disturbing.
LaShay Patterson and Christian Patrick say they were home-schooling little Dashawn Harris, and in statements allegedly made to police they admitted routinely beating and torturing him for not performing (see previous story).
According to investigators, the boy’s failure to pronounce the word “sad” cost him his life.
“They described that that day they beat him, threatened to take away Christmas — and they did,” says prosecutor Bridget Kirn. “They threatened to take away food. And none of that worked, so they went at him with hand and a belt, and even going to far as to burn him with a hair dryer.”
Patterson admitted beating the boy, but not on the day he died.
But detectives say Patrick admitted brutalizing the boy that day and even detailed his actions.
The defense contends both defendants have mental health issues and dispute that there was an intent to kill.