MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (WTXF) - Authorities in Montgomery County have announced new charges related to the death of a 4-year-old boy who they say was fatally beaten for spilling his cereal earlier this year.
Calling it 4-year-old Tahjir Smith's day for justice, authorities marked Child Abuse Prevention Day by filing murder and conspiracy charges against the little boy's mother Lisa Smith,19, and her boyfriend,Keiff King, 26.
"Smith and King beat the boy about his head and on his body using not only their hands, but a sandal as well," DA Kevin Steele told reporters at a noon time press conference.
"It still sickens all of us here," said neighbor Charlie Evans, who lives right across the street from the home on Lukens Avenue where Tahjir lost his life in January.
Evans was saddened by the boy's death and glad to see the charges upgraded to murder.
"I'm glad they got first degree. I hope it sticks and they get the worst punishment they can get for doing what they did to that little boy," Evans said.
On the day of his death, investigators say the child was made to assume a push up position as he had been forced to do several times in the past.
"When the little boy couldn't hold a man's push up position for a length of time that his mother wanted, she started beating the young boy," DA Steele explained.
"It's disgusting what they could do to that little boy and what the mother will allow to be done to her own son," Evans added.
Police say Tahjir was also put in the shower in water so hot he suffered burns to his body. Investigators and the medical examiner determined he had been severely beaten before.
"On that day that Tahjir died our investigation found the little boy spilled cereal," Steele added.
"To see that something like this was happening behind closed doors and we couldn't do anything to help. It's very sad," Evans said.
Investigators say conditions inside the home were deplorable. The DA confirmed that Lisa Smith is currently pregnant with another child while in prison awaiting trial on the new murder and conspiracy charges. She and King are being held without bail.