LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A boy’s mother and her then-boyfriend face numerous charges after the child was beaten so badly, he suffered major damage to his eyes. The I-Team had an exclusive interview with one of the defendants.
WARNING: The information in this report is of a sensitive nature.
The 8-year-old boy had bruises on his body and his eyes were red. Doctors and detectives said a beating with a buckle to the face left him blind.
Metro Police said defendant Akoya Hudgins, 29, is the man who did it.
“I want him to know that I’m very sorry,” Hudgins told the I-Team.
Hudgins agreed to an interview with us as he awaits trial in jail.
“As I was going to swing the belt, the kid like turned around like this and accidentally hit him in the face.”
He claimed he was trying to discipline the boy.
Hudgins and the child’s mother are pleading not guilty to child abuse charges.
Prosecutors allege 31-year-old Jerashuan Jackson let the abuse happen. Hudgins was her live-in boyfriend at a home near Sahara and Lamb.
She is currently on house arrest, but the I-Team could not reach her for this report.
Metro Police said after Jackson found her son crying, holding his face and having trouble seeing, she failed to get him help right away.
According to Chief Deputy District Attorney Michelle Jobe, Jackson and Hudgins tested the boy at home rather than seeking medical care. She said the testing involved Jackson making faces to see if the child would mimic her and asking if he knew the colors on the curtains.
Police said six days later, Jackson took her son to Sunrise Hospital, and the child said he was scared to go home and glad his younger brother was in daycare and not at home.
Hudgins and Jackson were arrested, and both children were removed from the home.
“He’s permanently blind. He had been transferred to Stanford for testing. He had surgery there. He stayed there for some time, and he was released to relatives in California and should be receiving all kinds of therapeutic services to adjust to his new life,” stated Jobe.
A doctor explained in front of the grand jury, for injuries like the child’s, the condition can sometimes be reversed or improved with medical care.
But too much time had passed before the boy was taken to the hospital.
We asked Hudgins why he didn’t get him help:
Hudgins: “I told her to get it checked out to see how his eyes were doing, but I’m not the parent, so I can’t go and take him and get him checked out.”
Vanessa Murphy: “You’re not the parent but were hitting him with a belt, right?”
Hudgins: “Yes, ma’am. I hit him with a belt one time, yes ma’am.”
But prosecutors allege the incident which left the boy blind was one of several beatings he and his brother suffered at the hands of Hudgins.
“They want to paint me to be something that I’m not,” he said. “I’m very remorseful that this was not purposely done, and it was an accident.”
What he calls an accident led to lifelong consequences for a little boy.
Hudgins is expected back in court on Wednesday, and Jackson is due back in court in April.
According to state law, child abuse is physical or mental injury of a non-accidental nature. Excessive corporal punishment may constitute abuse or neglect.