A Florida man beat his stepson to death for sneaking out of bed to get a cookie — and then forced the boy’s brothers to sleep next to his body all night, according to prosecutors.
Jack Junior Montgomery, 31, of Tampa, was arraigned Monday and held on bond for the murder of 7-year-old Brice Russell, WFLA reports.
Brice’s mother, Donya Shenita Russell, had left him in Montgomery’s care — along with three of his siblings — while she worked a double shift Friday night. The family reportedly was staying at a local hotel.
“While she was out working, (Montgomery) chose to not only physically discipline this child himself, by not only repeatedly punching and throwing him on the ground — but threatening bodily harm upon the two brothers if they did not partake and equally discipline him,” Assistant State Attorney Matthew Smith charged in court.
According to his arrest affidavit, Montgomery told investigators he had been trying to discipline Brice after he got out of bed to eat a cookie.
“(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. And ultimately caused his brain to bleed,” said Smith, noting how this caused the little boy to die within seconds or minutes.
“As if that was not aggravated enough, Mr. Montgomery took the child, put him in bed and had his siblings sleep with him while Brice was dead that entire night.”
Authorities believe Montgomery killed his stepson sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning.
Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies had been called to the family’s hotel room around 1 a.m. Saturday to conduct a welfare check after receiving reports of loud noises, but they never saw or found anything suspicious that would warrant a search, WFTS reports.
Montgomery would later call 911 himself around 10:50 a.m. to report that his stepson was unable to wake up and was not breathing. The boy reportedly was pronounced dead at the scene.
Brice’s brothers told detectives that Montgomery punched the child repeatedly in the face, mouth and stomach with a closed fist before hurling him into the wall. They said he threatened to do the same to them if they didn’t participate in the beatdown.
“Push the kid over here,” a hotel employee reported hearing, according to the arrest affidavit.
“Beat the kid!”
Cops have not released the ages of the other boys.
WFLA reports that Montgomery has a history of domestic violence and battery.
He could face the death penalty if convicted.