Monday, February 22, 2010

Dad "at lost to explain why he killed young son" (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

At his sentencing hearing for killing his 3-year-old son, dad BRANDON HARWICK couldn't explain why he administered the fatal beating. Had something to do with the fact that the 3-year-old "made a mess" though. Imagine that. A preschooler who made a mess. And for this, the child is beaten with a belt, and his head is literally bashed through the wall. The horrible part is that this isn't the first time this father abused this child either.

Father at loss to explain why he killed young son
By Gina Barton of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: Feb. 19, 2010

A man who beat his 3-year-old son to death couldn't give a judge a clear answer for why he did it.

"What were you thinking?" Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Conen asked the defendant, Brandon Hardwick, at a sentencing hearing Friday. "Why? How did this come about?"

After a long pause, Hardwick, 22, answered simply: "I didn't care for myself."

Hardwick's attorney, Lori Kuehn, said Hardwick himself had been abused as a child. On the March night when his son, Khamari, died of blunt force trauma to the head, Hardwick simply snapped, she said.

According to a criminal complaint, Hardwick told police he began beating the child and whipping him with a belt because Khamari made a mess in the dining room. After making the boy stand in the corner, Hardwick grabbed him by the hand, smashing his head into a wall. There was a hole in the wall, Assistant District Attorney Mark Williams said, likely caused by the impact of the little boy's head.

"My short bit of rage for that few minutes cost the life of someone who could have been something great, was great already," Hardwick said during the hearing. "Please forgive me."

For killing the boy and for punching him in the stomach on an earlier occasion, Conen sentenced Hardwick to 13 years in prison and 10 years under the supervision of the Department of Corrections after his release.

More than 50 people were in the courtroom for the hearing. Three of them - Khamari's mother, grandmother and great-grandmother - spoke on the child's behalf.

Khamari loved Spider-Man and riding his bike, they said. He was learning to tie his shoes. Although he loved animals, he was afraid to ride a pony.

"No way," he told his grandmother, Lynette Jordan. "That dog is too big."

When his great-grandmother came home from work, he would rush to sit in her favorite recliner so she would have to play with him instead of sitting down. If she tried to take some time for herself, he would pound on the door until she let him in. And he loved the park, even in the winter, especially the swings.

"I'm not scared!" he would cry. "Push me to the sky!"

Khamari's great-grandmother, Norma Jordan, said the family has only been able to cope with his death through constant prayer.

"Khamari did not - I repeat myself - did not deserve to be abused, beaten or tortured the way he was," she said. "He was a beautiful child. I want peace for my family and peace for my baby who cannot speak for himself."