Alabama couple abused, killed 2-year-old son and then claimed he stopped breathing after choking on his food
BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA: An Alabama father and mother have been arrested and charged over the death of their toddler son who they claimed had choked on his food. The crime came to light after deputies responded to a residence in the 1600 Block of Sixth Street N.W. in Center Point on Wednesday, May 13, on a report of a two-year-old child not breathing, according to AL.com. When deputies arrived on the scene, the child's parents, father Demetric Hampton Sr., 26, and stepmother Terrica Harris, 24, told them he had been eating and had started choking on his food. Hampton Sr. claimed he had removed the food from his son's airway and began life-saving efforts. He added that his wife was not at home at the scene and had come back shortly before the medics.
The young boy, identified as Demetric Hampton Jr. was rushed to Children's of Alabama, where doctors found he had suffered multiple injuries and burns that were not consistent with the parents' stories. He could not be saved and was pronounced dead at 1:46 am. Both Hampton Sr. and Harris were subsequently arrested, and during their investigation, authorities learned that the former had been arrested on April 5 on charges of third-degree domestic violence, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child and obstruction of justice. Harris had been arrested at the same time on charges of disorderly conduct, endangering the welfare of a child, resisting arrest, and obstruction of justice.
Those arrests stemmed from Jefferson County sheriff's deputies responding to their residence after they received an anonymous call that the couple was arguing in the driveway. The caller informed authorities that the man had a gun and that the woman was in her vehicle trying to leave. Court documents filed in connection to that incident allege Harris became annoyed at the deputies' arrival and immediately began yelling and cussing. Hampton Sr. was holding their nine-month-old son at the time and Harris took the baby from him. The 24-year-old continued to argue with the deputies, who then asked her to hand over the child. When she refused, Hampton Sr. is said to have punched her in the face. The child was hit in the lip, which started to bleed.
Deputies eventually managed to break up the fight, though one was knocked over in the ensuing struggle. The entire ordeal was caught on the deputies' body cameras and the couple was scheduled to appear in court in June on those charges. Hampton Sr. has been charged with murder and aggravated child abuse in the death of his son while Harris was booked on a charge of aggravated child abuse. Hampton Sr. is being held at Jefferson County Jail without a bond while his wife's bail has been set at $60,000.
There were multiple other young children at their Hampton home, including Demetric Jr.'s twin sister. The Alabama Department of Human Resources was called to the home on the morning of the two-year-old's death and took the children into its custody.