A man has been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly throwing his seven-year-old stepson against a wall and beating him at a motel.
Jack Junior Montgomery, 31, was charged with felony first-degree murder in the death of Brice Russell at the Masters Inn motel in Seffner, Florida.
A motel employee told authorities there was loud yelling in a room and what sounded like an adult man telling a child to "beat the kid" and "push the kid over here".
On Saturday (30 December) around 1am, a Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy conducted a welfare search and met with a man who identified himself as "Jack" who said the loud noise was his music and that he was in the room with "his children".
He then pushed the door open wide enough for the deputy to see the children sleeping in a bed towards the back of the motel room. The deputy did not enter the room and cleared the call with no further investigation.
But police responded to a second call to the same motel room at 10.50am after Montgomery called 911 and reported his stepson would not wake up. The boy was pronounced dead at 10.59am.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said Montgomery had been looking after Brice and his three siblings while the children's mother, 28-year-old Donya Shenita Russell, was at work.
The three children told detectives that they woke up to find their brother crying and said they witnessed Montgomery hitting him and throwing him around the room.
Montgomery allegedly threatened the children with violence if they did not join in to strike their brother. Under fear that Montgomery would hurt them, a child hit Brice twice, detectives said.
The children saw their stepfather pick up Brice by the leg and throw him against a shelf on the wall, the arrest report said. Detectives said the children claimed to see blood coming from Brice's nose and mouth and that he never woke up after that.
Investigators determined that Montgomery had punched Brice in the face, mouth and stomach with a closed fist, threw him around the motel room and shoved the boy's face into the carpet.
Montgomery admitted to police that he picked up the boy and threw him onto the bed after catching Brice trying to sneak out of bed to get a cookie, according to the arrest affidavit.
Montgomery claimed Brice hit his head on the headboard when he threw him onto the bed, but said he was fine afterwards.
According to WFTS, the Medical Examiner's Office determined Brice's death was a result of homicidal violence.