A man in Florida is accused of brutally beating his best friend's child to death after the infant had a tantrum.
Jamal Carson, 24, from Lakeland, was watching 2-year-old Mekhi Laster on Friday when he allegedly killed the child, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Carson told police he was babysitting Mekhi for about two weeks while his friend was out of town.
Officers came to the house after a 911 call about an unresponsive toddler. When they arrived, the boy was lying face up on the ground, according to a police report.
When they questioned Carson, he told them the boy was complaining about a broken foot and he was getting worse, so Carson put Mekhi in front of an air conditioner to get some air. He didn't call 911 for about 20 minutes, the report said. Emergency workers took the boy to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
An autopsy, performed on Tuesday, found bruises on the child's back, face and lips. He had multiple broken ribs, a broken pelvis, a swollen scrotum and many internal injuries. Mekhi's skull was also fractured. The report said it was a homicide.
Under further questioning on Tuesday, Carson changed his story. He said he had asked the boy to clean up, and the boy threw a tantrum. Officers gave Carson a doll and asked him to show what he did to Mekhi.
He allegedly told cops he became frustrated with the child and punched him in the back, twice, squeezed his ribcage, and threw him onto an air mattress.
The boy bounced off the mattress and hit his head on the floor, according to the report. After that, Carson said, he hit and stomped on the child. Then he called 911.
The boy's mother, Lamonica Laster, told police she left Mekhi in Carson's care, and she said Carson was her best friend, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Carson was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.
[Photo: Lakeland Police Department]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.