12-year-old arrested in toddler death


Published: Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 6:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 6:59 p.m.

LAUDERHILL, Fla. - A 12-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with fatally beating a toddler he was baby-sitting, police said.

Authorities did not identify the boy because of his age, but say he used a baseball bat to beat the 17-month-old girl because she was making noise while he was trying to watch TV.

Investigators said the boy confessed and said he was home alone with a 10-year-old girl and the toddler when she began to cry, which angered him. The relationship between the three was not clear.

At some point, an adult called 911. The girl, Shaloh Joseph, was rushed to a hospital where she was pronounced dead of blunt force trauma to the head, Lauderhill police spokesman Lt. Mike Cochran said.

Cochran said the boy confessed to the crime and was arrested Saturday on first-degree murder charges. He was arraigned in juvenile court Sunday and remained in custody, but it was not clear if he had an attorney or if anyone else would be charged in the girl's death.

The Miami Herald identified the boy's mother as Guerla Joseph. A telephone listing for a Guerla Joseph in Fort Lauderdale had been disconnected.

The case is not the first in Florida where a boy so young has been charged in the death of a child. Lionel Tate was 12 when he beat and stomped to death a playmate half his age in Florida, a case that sparked national and international attention.

At the time, Tate was the youngest person in modern U.S. history to receive a life prison sentence. His attorneys initially said he accidentally killed 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick in 1999 while imitating pro wrestling moves.

Tate was convicted as an adult of first-degree murder, but the conviction was thrown out in 2004, and Tate pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

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