MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis father is facing murder and child abuse charges after police say he beat his 2-year-old son to death Wednesday.
Antonio First was charged with aggravated child abuse, aggravated child abuse-neglect and first degree murder, court documents show.
“Yesterday morning my whole life changed,” said Shakia Brooks, the child’s mother, talking about the moment she found out her son Brayton died while staying at his father’s house.
“He called hollering and screaming saying he had choked on some cookies — but we weren’t buying that from the jump,” she said.
Neither were police, who took First into custody outside his home on Trezevant in Frayser and charged him with first-degree murder.
They say the child had bruises all over his body. His mother said he was beaten to death.
“There were holes on the wall and a bloody shoe on the floor where he beat my son,” she said.
Brayton’s grandmother, Lashonia Brooks, questioned how anyone could kill a 2-year-old.
“You have to be a demon,” she said.
According to medical professionals, the child suffered skull fractures on both sides of his skull, ligature marks around his neck and his stomach was filled with blood. He also had “major bruising over his entire body.”
Police say in April of last year, Brayton was rushed to the hospital with a serious head injury while spending the night with his father.
First wasn’t charged with anything. Investigators say First admitted to hurting his son both times.
First later told police that a court had ordered him not to have the child in his custody after the April 2019 incident. He also reportedly admitted to causing the fatal injuries after slapping the victim. The impact sent the victim into the wall, he said.
Shakia Brooks said she’s relieved he’s been charged. Still, it won’t bring her son back.
“He was so smart and had the greatest future waiting for him. I had so much I wanted to do for him, and with him,” she said.
First has two other sons who were also in the home at the time. Police haven’t said if they witnessed what happened.
Shakia Brooks said police told her that her son was beaten for playing with a Wifi box in his father’s house.
First is being held on $150,000 bond.
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