A man accused of killing his girlfriend’s 18-month-old son by allegedly hitting him in the abdomen was indicted Tuesday by a DeKalb County grand jury.
Nicholas Clarence Wade, 22, of Lithonia, faces several charges including: malice murder; felony murder; cruelty to children, and aggravated assault in the death of Keon Belk, according to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office.
“The indictment outlines a senseless and brutal attack on an innocent and defenseless child,” District Attorney Robert James said. “It is truly a tragedy anytime a child loses their life in this manner.”
According to the indictment, Wade allegedly struck Keon in the abdomen, causing the infant’s death.
Investigators said Wade was babysitting the toddler in February when he called 911 to report that the child wasn’t breathing. The child was in cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived at the home on Swift Road, DeKalb County police said previously.
The child was transported to Children’s Hospital of Atlanta at Egleston where Wade called the child’s mother to tell her Keon had stopped breathing, police said. He allegedly told officials that the baby fell from a bed and struck his head, police spokesman Capt. Steven Fore said.
But the hospital called police to report the incident because the child’s injuries were inconsistent with what Wade reported, Capt. Fore said.
“The child had liver damage and a fracture to the skull,” Capt. Fore said. Keon died the next day and police issued warrants for Wade’s arrest, police said.
DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputies tracked Wade to an apartment complex off Farrington and Panola roads, officials said.
When deputies arrived, the suspect was getting into a car and they followed him into the complex of Newbirth Church where they decided to box in the vehicle, forcing him to stop, the sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Kyle Jones said.
“He grabbed a shotgun and first pointed it at himself and then at one of the deputies,” Lt. Jones said.
The other deputy opened fire, shooting the suspect three times, the lieutenant said. Wade was shot in the neck, face and leg during a confrontation, officials said.
The district attorney told Channel 2 Action News that parents have to understand that not everyone should be left alone with their child.
“Just know who they are. Know them,” James said. “You can’t just date someone and trust that person to the care of your child.”