An Alabama man accused of murdering his young son by blunt force trauma now faces more serious accusations.
On April 9, newly released court records show, a Jefferson County grand jury increased the charges against Demetric Rashad Hampton Sr., 27, to capital murder and aggravated child abuse in connection with 2-year-old Demetric Hampton Jr.’s death.
The child’s stepmother, Terrica Harris, 25, was also indicted on a charge of aggravated child abuse, Al.com reported.
Hampton has been held on $160,000 bond at the Jefferson County Jail since his arrest on May 13, 2020, the date his son, Demetric, died from his injuries at the hospital 12 days before his third birthday..
According to Al.com, Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies were called to Hampton and Harris’ Birmingham area home around 12:30 a.m. that morning. Hampton told authorities the child had stopped breathing after choking on food. Hampton claimed he removed the blockage from his son’s airway and began CPR.
He also alleged Harris wasn’t at home when the incident happened and arrived shortly before emergency responders showed up
Demetric was rushed to Children’s of Alabama, where he was pronounced dead at 1:46 a.m.
At the hospital, doctors noted the toddler had suffered burns and multiple other injuries not connected with a choking incident.
After Demtris’ death, Al.com reported, lawyers filed a lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Human Resources, among others officials, on behalf of the child’s estate, contending the toddler should never have been placed back with his father and stepmother after an incident that occurred 38 days before.
In that April 5, 2020, incident, an anonymous caller phoned police to report Hampton had a gun and was preventing Harris from leaving in a car, court records show. When deputies arrived on the scene, Harris became angry, took their 9-month-old son from Hampton, and then refused deputies orders to hand the child over.
At that point, court documents state, Hampton used a closed fist to punch his wife in the face, striking the baby’s lip in the process and causing it to bleed.
Deputies tried to break up the fight and tased Hampton, who struggled and resisted arrest. Authorities took the father into custody, and his five children were placed in their grandmother’s care later that evening.
Lawyers claimed DHR should have known Hampton had a history of neglect and child abuse since, among other reasons, officials gave custody of Demetris and his twin sister to their maternal grandmother right after they were born.