An 11-year-old boy was fatally assaulted by a 56-year-old man in Fergus Falls on July 29, according to murder charges filed in Otter Tail County District Court.
Warning: Details in this story are upsetting
Reggie C. Bethel, of Fergus Falls, is accused of brutally banging the child's head into a wall and on the floor of a home on the 1100 block of South Mill Street in Fergus Falls.
Responding officers found the boy unresponsive on a couch. He had a cut under his chin, facial abrasions, facial bruising and a "large patch of blood on his shirt and a large contusion on the right side of his head," a criminal complaint says.
A medical examiner found that the boy, who has been identified as Mason Weston, died from traumatic brain injury with acute subdural hemorrhage and intracranial pressure.
In an interview with investigators, the boy's mother initially lied about what happened, claiming Bethel told her to cover up what happened. She eventually changed her story, saying she heard Bethel "bang" the child's head on the floor three times and then heard Bethel telling the child to wake up and "that he was sorry."
The boy's mother told police that Bethel would physical abuse the boy as a form of punishment.
When interviewed by a detective, Bethel claimed the boy slipped and fell while cleaning up dog urine. But when told by the detective that medical experts said the child's injuries were not consistent with a fall, Bethel admitted "that he got frustrated and angry and grabbed [the child] by both sides of his and hit his head against the wall," the complaint reads.
Bethel said he also kicked the boy while he was on the floor, claiming he "has an anger management problem" and was "unable to control his anger" during the assault.
Weston was transported to Lake Regions Hospital and later airlifted to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, where he died last weekend.
Bethel has been charged with second-degree murder, as well as one count of first-degree manslaughter and another of second-degree manslaughter.
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