An Iowa man is facing murder charges after allegedly sitting on a 2-year-old boy and killing him after the child took his cellphone.
Police arrested 31-year-old Larry Murphy on Friday, according to online records of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office. Murphy, who is currently still in police custody on more than $1 million bail, is facing charges of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in a death, the Associated Press reports.
The victim’s mother told police that Murphy was staying with her and her children in a motel room in Council Bluffs when her 2-year-old son took his cellphone, according to the AP. An angry Murphy allegedly sat on the child on the bed for about 20 seconds, after which the boy was unresponsive. The boy was later pronounced dead at the hospital, with doctors noting that the victim showed signs of having been asphyxiated, the AP reports.
Murphy is six feet tall and 160 pounds, according to police records — more than five times the weight of an average 2-year-old boy.
Murphy was dating the child’s mother, and the group had been living in a motel room together for several weeks when the fatal incident occurred, the Des Moines Register reports. Police say that Murphy was often the one to discipline the child because his mother has cerebral palsy and was physically unable to do so, according to the outlet. She reported hearing her child wheezing, but was physically unable to check on him prior to his death.
“[The mother] said her son initially was moaning during this and then became quiet,” police records obtained by the Register read. “She assumed [the child] was going to go back to sleep as Larry covered him up with the bed comforter and left the room to pay their motel rent.”
Murphy allegedly sat on the child that day in an effort to calm him down, according to a statement from the Council Bluffs police department. Murphy then briefly left the room, and when he returned, he found the boy unresponsive, at which point he called his sister for help and the two tried to take the child to the hospital, according to authorities. Police say Murphy and his sister called 911 while driving and stopped at a local convenience store after dispatchers instructed them to do so. First responders reportedly met them there, and then transferred the child to Jennie Edmundson Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
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