A 7-year-old boy died after his stepfather and mother beat him on consecutive days for not reading the Bible and failing to do his homework, according to a Las Vegas police report released Monday.
Markiece Palmer, 34, and Dina Palmer, 27, were arrested Thursday and face charges of murder and multiple counts of child abuse, neglect or endangerment with substantial bodily harm, according to Clark County court documents.
County prosecutors accuse the Palmers of causing Roderick Arrington’s death, who, according to the report, they have had in their custody for no longer than three months.
It’s unclear when Roderick died, but he was taken to University Medical Center on Thursday in critical condition.
The child formerly lived with his father and grandmother in Illinois, the report said.
The boy had bruising over much of his body, including arms, abdomen, back, legs, thighs and buttocks. He had open wounds on his buttocks. He also had massive brain swelling, the report said.
Markiece Palmer told police that on Wednesday he struck his stepson on the buttocks with a belt for not completing his homework.
Palmer said Roderick then balled up his fists and "ran up on him," at which time Palmer grabbed the child by the arms and shook him hard, the report said.
Palmer, who is 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 150 pounds, said his stepson then ran downstairs and slipped, hitting his forehead on a table and then falling backward and striking his head again on the floor. According to court documents, the boy slipped and fell as a result of the beating.
The report said Dina Palmer told police that on Nov. 27 she struck her son with a paddle, her hand and a belt on the lower back. Markiece Palmer told investigators that he struck his stepson on the buttocks with a belt the same day. The punishment delivered by both adults was because the 7-year-old had not read a Bible chapter.
Dina Palmer told police she struck her son with the same belt her husband used on the child on Wednesday, the report said.
Dina Palmer was adamant that she and her husband "did not do anything," although the bruises apparent on her son were from "whoopins" from her and her husband, the report said.
Markiece Palmer initially told police he spanked his stepson only twice, but then his story changed, and he said it was more often.
He then told investigators that he would spank Roderick with several items. "His belt, a spatula, his hand and a wooden paddle," the report said.
The Palmers told police that Roderick was unresponsive on Thursday morning. Dina Palmer called her pastor for guidance, who told her to take the child to the hospital, the report said.
The report added that the couple didn’t call 911 for more than an hour after the child was found unresponsive.
Markiece Palmer described his stepson as "outgoing, favorable and a good kid," the report said.
The Palmers are being held on no bail at the Clark County Detention Center. Their next court hearing is today .
Contact reporter Antonio Planas at email@example.com or 702-383-4638.