Mother Accused of Killing Son Cries As Charges Read - 8 News NOW

Mother Accused of Killing Son Cries As Charges Read

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Roderick "RJ" Arrington Jr. in Illinois before moving to Las Vegas. Roderick "RJ" Arrington Jr. in Illinois before moving to Las Vegas.
Markiece Palmer Markiece Palmer
Dina Palmer Dina Palmer

LAS VEGAS -- Shaken and beaten, 7-year-old Roderick "RJ" Arrington Jr. could not survive the abuse by his stepfather, according to Metro Police homicide detectives.

Investigators said RJ, a second grader at Roundy Elementary School, died after his stepfather, Markiece Palmer, beat and shook him to death.

As RJ was being abused, his mother, Dina Palmer, stood by and let her husband do it, the investigators said. The boy wasn't taken to a doctor until his brain started to swell and bleed.

In a video posted to Facebook, RJ can be heard singing the gospel song, "This Little Light of Mine."

"Jesus gave it to me; I'm gonna let it shine," RJ sings.

Just a couple months ago, Arrington was singing his Bible songs in his grandmother's Illinois home.

"(I) just put him on the plane three months ago," RJ's grandmother, Latanza Harris, said.

On Tuesday, the Palmers appeared before a judge in Las Vegas Justice Court, each facing charges of murder and child abuse and neglect.

Dina Palmer cried in court as authorities read the charges aloud.

According to police, Markiece Palmer beat RJ with a spatula, belt and possibly a wooden paddle after he said the boy lied about reading a Bible verse and not doing his homework.

Dina Palmer allowed the boy's stepfather to punish him, the police said.

"He missed the first plane out here and he said, ‘Grandma, I want to see my mommy,'" Harris said. "I said, ‘I know, I know.'"

In addition to a massive swelling of the brain, RJ also had bruising and open wounds.

Markiece Palmer told investigators he grabbed RJ by the arms and "shook him hard."

Jeanne Cosgrove, a registered nurse for Sunrise Hospital's trauma services, said a traumatic brain injury is extremely painful.

Harris said Markiece Palmer tried to control his wife, not allowing her to use the phone without supervision, demanding money and separating her from family.

"I just have to forgive myself for letting (her) come out here because it was a struggle to let him go," Harris said.

Harris said she will soon return to Illinois to lay RJ to rest.

The Palmers are expected back in court Thursday.

According to child abuse experts, oftentimes the abuser is not the biological mother or father, but instead a family friend or stepparent.

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