Sunday, September 13, 2015

Murder of 3-year-old boy by joint custody dad with criminal record could lead to new laws (Memphis, Tennessee)

Dad is identified as TERRY PATTERSON.

3-year-old's death could lead to new law protecting children
Posted: Sep 12, 2015 11:03 PM EDT Updated: Sep 13, 2015 9:51 AM EDT

By Rose Eiklor

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - At the Memphis Advocacy Center, a resource for abused children and their families, a flag will be raised for 3-year-old Josiah Monday.

Meanwhile, his family is standing with state representative G.A. Hardaway in pushing for a new law to protect children.

"I was ecstatic. I was really really excited and if I'm able to do anything to assist I will," Josiah's aunt Erica Lee said.

Lee said she will stand with Hardaway, who is pushing for new legislation to make it mandatory for juvenile courts and DCS to better communicate.

"I think juvenile court failed Josiah and a lot of other children," Lee said.

Josiah was brutally beaten to death last week.

His father, Terry Patterson, a convicted felon and sex offender, was charged with first-degree murder for his death. Just days before his son was killed, Patterson was given joint custody.

DCS has confirmed they had contact with the family for the child's entire life.

"I feel like before they release a kid to another parent they should investigate a parents background," Lee said.

Lee said she hopes Hardaway's legislation is passed and children are protected in the future.

"There needs to be a law and I'm proud of G.A. Hardaway for stepping up to the plate."

Juvenile court said they are not required to check someone's background during a child support or custodial case.

Hardaway is planning to file for the new law next week.