A Florida man has been charged with murdering his stepson at a motel. The suspect had allegedly beaten the child to death after he caught him sneaking out of his bed to eat a cookie. After the boy was dead, the man reportedly made the other kids sleep in the bed next to his body (video below).
On Dec. 30, 2017, fire rescue crews responded to a 911 call and found 7-year-old Brice Russell unresponsive in a motel room in Seffner, Florida. The child was pronounced dead at the scene, WFTS reports.
Jack Junior Montgomery, 31, the boy's stepfather, was arrested and charged with felony first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. Brice's siblings told law enforcement that Montgomery had beaten the boy to death.
That evening, a motel employee called local law enforcement to report that he had overheard loud yelling in Montgomery's hotel room, stating that they overheard an adult say "beat the kid."
A Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputy arrived at the motel to conduct a welfare check. The man who answered the door of Montgomery's room told the officer that he had been loudly playing music and opened the door wide enough to show four children sleeping in bed. The deputy cleared the call and left the scene.
That morning, Montgomery phoned medical services to report that Brice was unresponsive. When medical services arrived, the child had already been dead for hours.
Montgomery's arrest affidavit alleged the stepfather had punched Brice in the face, mouth and stomach. Brice's siblings told law enforcement their stepfather had ordered them to hit their brother and that one complied after being directly threatened.
The killing blow reportedly occurred when Montgomery allegedly lifted Brice up by his leg and forcefully threw him against a shelf.
"[Montgomery] picked him up and flung him as described by the other brothers, helicopter across the hotel room into what's kind of a cabinet, where he hit head first," alleged Assistant State Attorney Matthew Smith, according to WFLA. "And ultimately caused his brain to bleed."
The child reportedly became unresponsive, and had blood flowing from his orifices. The siblings said Montgomery tucked his body into bed with them. Smith estimated the child had died within minutes after suffering his head injury.
Brice's siblings say they spent the night sleeping beside his dead body.
Montgomery told HCSO he had thrown Brice onto the bed after he caught him sneaking out from under the covers to fetch a cookie. The suspect said that the child hit his head on the headboard but that he showed no signs of physical distress.
Donya Shenita Russell, the victim's mother, was working a double shift during the incident. The family had been living at the motel.
Montgomery is currently being held in jail in lieu of $870,000 bail. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.