A 26-year-old man from Dayton, Ohio, has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son, who died in a hospital Sunday.
Justin Payne called 911 Saturday morning and said that the boy, Jacob Barker, had "choked on a Pop-Tart." But just after 8 p.m. that evening, police detained Payne on suspicion of murder.
Montgomery County Prosecutor’s spokesman Greg Flannagan confirmed that Payne faces four charges: murder, involuntary manslaughter, and two counts of endangering children.
Payne was on a three-year probation period and had been out of prison for less than a year when the incident occurred.
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He was released in November 2014 after serving a two-and-a-half year sentence for assaulting an 8-month-old girl in January 2011.
Court documents from May 2012 described Payne’s actions as having caused “devastating injuries,” according to WHIO. These included a fractured skull, broken ribs and broken ankle.
Lt. Wendy Stiver of the Dayton Police Department did not confirm the nature of Barker’s injuries in the latest incident. The cause of death is yet to be determined.
“At this point, I can only say the nature of the injuries and the nature of the death were criminal,” she said, according to Daily Mail.
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Barker’s relatives, who attended Payne’s court hearing, did not comment on the charges, WHIO reported.
Rayetta Whittle, the grandmother of the baby girl abused by Payne in 2011, was not surprised by what had allegedly happened.
“I knew if he got around a child again that he would harm them,” Whittle said, according to Daily Mail. “Maybe sexual abuse, beating. As far as killing, yeah -- he tried to kill my granddaughter.
“He deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life and never see daylight again because if he does, he'll do it again.”
Payne refused to discuss his financial situation with the court, so it is not clear if he requires a court-appointed attorney. He currently does not have an attorney listed, WHIO reported.
A judge has set Payne’s bond at $1 million, and evidence is due to be presented to a grand jury in the coming weeks.