Roderick “R.J.” Arrington (pictured left) was allegedly beaten to death by his mother and stepdad because he failed to read his Bible and finish his homework. Parents Markiece Palmer (pictured below right), 34, and Dina Palmer (pictured below), 27, are facing murder charges along with counts of child abuse and neglect for the late November beating death, reports the Daily Mail.
According to an arrest report that was released Monday, Arrington, a second grader, had recently relocated from Illinois to Las Vegas about three months ago; he had been living with his biological father and grandmother. The child went to live with his mother, Dina, and her new husband of only five months. It was the first time Arrington was meeting his stepdad.
Markiece told police that he only spanked Arrington twice, the first time for lying and the second time on that fateful day. The stepfather told police investigators that Arrington had allegedly told him that he hated him and had also informed him that he was not his father. However after further questioning, police uncovered the truth from Markiece that he had actually hit the child several times and had used items such as a belt, spatula, wooden paddle, and his hands.
The Mother also admitted to investigators that she had been present and actually participated in each beating as well.
On November 27, Markiece admitted to police that he spanked Arrington for lying about reading a biblical chapter. Dina also said that she had spanked her son on his buttocks with both a belt and her hand on the same day.
The next day, Markiece, a pastry chef and independent filmmaker, found out that Arrington’s homework had not been completed, it was about 9:30 p.m. and the child was fast asleep. The stepdad admitted to striking him with a belt on his buttocks for not finishing up his school work. He then said that during the altercation, the 7-year-old ran up against him with balled fists.
Markiece admitted to officers that it was at that point, he grabbed the child and shook him hard. Dina then interceded, spanking Arrington with a belt and then a paddle.
At some point during the whippings, the parents claimed that Arrington ran down some stairs and hit his forehead on a table. Markiece told the child to take a bath, then put cocoa butter on the open wounds on his buttock.
The child told Markiece he felt like throwing up, but his comments fell on deaf ears, so he went to bed and never woke up.
Watch news coverage of Roderick’s murder here:
It was Markiece who found his stepson unconscious the next morning. When Dina was alerted to her son’s condition, she called her pastor who instructed her to call an ambulance.
When Arrington arrived at University Medical Center, doctors discovered that he had major bruising about his torso and massive brain swelling.
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The child was placed in the pediatric critical care unit and further examinations revealed that Arrington had suffered several strokes, had fixed pupils, bruising on his arms, abdomen, back, legs, buttocks and thighs.
Arrington was taken in to surgery but passed away soon afterward. The cause of death has not yet been released.
Police obtained a search warrant to investigate the Palmer’s residence and discovered a broken broom stick with what appears to be blood, belts, cords, spatulas and bloodied clothes.
Ironically, the Palmers appeared to be a loving and staunchly religious family. Facebook postings by Dina depict a warm and loving Mother who adored her son with comments like, “I love them with heart and soul!!!!” she wrote of Arrington and another child.
The Palmers are currently being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas.