PHILADELPHIA – A Pennsylvania mother and her boyfriend are accused of beating a 4-year-old boy to death for spilling his cereal.
Lisa Smith, 19, and her 26-year-old boyfriend, Keiff King, have been charged with murder in connection with the Jan. 22 death of Tahjir Smith.
Paramedics found the 4-year-old unresponsive inside a home in Willow Grove, a suburb of Philadelphia. Lisa, the boy's mother, initially told police she was walking home from a local mall when Tahjir became "wobbly" and struggled to breathe.
But, his death was recently ruled a homicide after an autopsy showed he died of multiple blunt and thermal injuries, as well as shock.
Lisa admitted to police she disciplined the boy, who she said was acting "sneaky" and started stuttering – something he did out of fear, according to KYW.
The boy was reportedly forced to hold a push-up position for a long period of time. When he dropped from the position, Lisa and her boyfriend allegedly hit him on the head and struck his body repeatedly with a sandal.
The boyfriend also admitted to throwing the 4-year-old under a scalding shower after the boy urinated on himself, which an expert later discovered burned his shoulder, prosecutors said.
Paramedics found Tahjir "limp and unresponsive," according to WDRB. He was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
The autopsy also revealed old rib fractures, showing the beating that led to the boy's death was not the first time he was abused.
Lisa and King are both due back in court April 18.