The father accused of beating his 1-year-old son to death was charged Friday with second-degree intentional murder.
Reggie Delanie Harper, 23, of Brooklyn Park, was charged in connection with the death of his son Kazerion Harper, who died on Tuesday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday.
According to the criminal complaint, the child was fussing and crying in his crib when his mother picked up him to settle him down. It is at this point that Harper is accused of grabbing the child, putting him on the floor and punching him repeatedly in the chest.
Freeman said that Harper, who according to FOX9 has a history of abuse, was allowed into the house even though he had an order of protection against him at the time.
"This is a sickening case of child abuse where our office and county child protection did all it could within the law to protect Kazerion and his older brother," Freeman said.
On Tuesday evening, authorities were called to a Brooklyn Park home on a report of an infant in respiratory failure. The boy was taken to North Memorial Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. Harper had fled before paramedics arrived.
The Hennepin County medical examiner's office ruled the death a homicide, saying the boy died as a result of "multiple blunt force injuries."
Boy had a "heart of gold"
FOX 9 talked to Powe, who said that her son would have turned 2 on New Year's Day.
“He was precious, loveable, emotional, heart of gold. Perfect in every way shape and form,” she said.
The station reported Harper has a history of abuse, noting that court records show he slapped the boy while the family was living in Kalamazoo, Michigan, sending the child to the hospital for two days in June. Criminal charges were dropped after Powe and her two sons moved back to Minnesota.
Meanwhile, at the Capitol on Friday, KSTP reports the state's new child abuse task force will meet for the sixth time. The 26-member expert group was formed after Gov. Mark Dayton asked for a review of the state's system to protect children.
The task force has until the end of December to make its first set of recommendations to the governor and legislature on sweeping reforms to be considered during the next session.
The Star Tribune reports Kazerion Harper is at least the 57th child to die since 2005 in Minnesota from maltreatment despite the family being known to child protection.
The Hennepin County Attorney's Office has said it will pursue proceedings to strip Harper and Howe of their parental rights regarding their other child.