The death of Lawrence King III came after an assault administered so violently by his stepfather that the boy was battered and bruised from his head to his knees
, Columbus police said in court documents filed in the case yesterday.
Reeves, who sobbed during his Municipal Court appearance, denied a vicious assault in an interview with police, telling detectives only that he disciplined his stepson for being "disrespectful."
Nikkie Reeves, 23, is due to appear in Municipal Court this morning on a child-endangering charge. Police say she allowed the abuse to occur.
They said Nikkie Reeves told them she asked her husband to stop hurting Lawrence, but was told to go into a bedroom and shut up.
She said she heard her son being thrown against a wall, then later saw him convulsing.
"Nikkie stated at one point Lawrence hit his head and started shaking," police said.
She said she stayed in the bedroom with her three younger children, turning up the radio so they wouldn't hear the violence
in their Far East Side town house Wednesday evening.
Columbus police said Lawrence, who was described as developmentally disabled,
was beaten, lashed with a leather belt and tossed against the wall and an entertainment center by John Reeves about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at their home...
Police say the couple didn't call for help until more than four hours later
, first trying to revive the boy in cold water
Police said they quickly debunked the couple's claims that the boy had been injured elsewhere, leading Nikkie Reeves to admit that she'd witnessed her husband's assault on Lawrence. She said she had lied because she was afraid of what her husband would do to her
"Nikkie stated this was not the first beating this week
and several others had occurred since Lawrence's return to them on Feb. 26," the police documents said.
Police said John Reeves admitted to disciplining the boy because of "disrespectful and bad behavior," explaining that the boy wouldn't help with housework.
He said the boy fell and hit his head while standing in a corner for punishment, which included lashes with a belt.
Three other children were in the house when the assault occurred. They are now with the Rev. Michael Reeves, John Reeves' father.
The Rev. Reeves told police that Lawrence seemed sad during a recent visit, telling him that no one loved him.
The pastor declined to comment yesterday.
During Lawrence's brief reunion with his mother and stepfather, the family was visited at least twice by workers from Children Services and the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
Both agencies reported no signs of abuse.
In court yesterday, the boy's father and grandmother wept as details of the assault were read.
Nikkie "abandoned the child years ago," Jones said. "She was bipolar and just had had another baby, with postpartum depression."
Lawrence King Jr.(bio-dad)
said he believed John Reeves abused his son out of hate for the relationship King once had with Nikkie Reeves.
About her, he said, "She lost hope and faith, and she wanted nothing to do with the child."