A capital murder trial was rescheduled for a man accused of beating and sexually abusing an infant boy.
Cullman Times reported that after his girlfriend’s son, Hoss Benham, died on his first birthday, Jeffrey Hugh Brown was charged with capital murder and sexual torture. The attorneys of the defendant asked and were given a continuance on Monday, Aug. 5. The trial is now scheduled for sometime after September.
According to Cullman.gov, the mother of the infant, Crystal Ballenger, is also facing charges of murder and sexual torture. Both suspects face the death penalty.
Ballenger took Hoss to the emergency room of the Cullman Regional Medical Center in March 2014, after the boy collapsed in her home off of U.S. 31 North, according to court documents. Shortly afterward, the boy was pronounced dead.
An autopsy study from the Forensic Sciences Department of Alabama disclosed that the kid had 89 wounds throughout his body. He had 38 wounds over his head and neck, allegedly caused by blunt-force trauma. Both of his eyes were injured, and on his arms and legs there were 19 wounds.
The autopsy also disclosed that the child had six torso wounds, seven genital and anus injuries, and countless burns on both feet.
A doctor at Huntsville’s Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences said there had been sexual abuse reported by the boy’s injuries to his private parts, court documents read.
“It’s really unbelievable and just hard to read what happened to this infant child. His last 36 hours were spent in horror and pain,” Cullman County District Attorney Wilson Blaylock said.
“With the victim being under 14 and the findings of this autopsy, we are moving forward with the capital murder charges on both Ballenger and Brown. It takes you back to think that anyone could cause these types of injuries to a child.”
According to court papers, Ballenger and Brown originally informed police the little boy had drowned in a bath. Yet, police said the child had a skull fracture, and no drowning would have caused the huge quantity of wounds on his body.
Later, Ballenger told police that she had seen Brown holding Hoss “underwater for 20-25 seconds,” an affidavit of the arrest said. She also said she saw Brown feeding the boy Tabasco sauce when he cried.
Both suspects remain behind bars.