A 2-year-old boy died Sunday after he was found in his Crystal home with severe head injuries, and the boyfriend of the toddler’s mother was charged Tuesday with murder.
Quran J. Mitchell, 21, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with second-degree murder in the death of the boy, coming nine days after the child’s second birthday. Mitchell has been arrested and makes his first court appearance Wednesday.
Mitchell was renting upstairs space from a couple in the house in 3400 block of Adair Avenue. The wife said Mitchell had been beating the boy since the family moved in two months ago, and she saw him kick the child and noticed bruises on the toddler, according to the prosecution.
The husband renting to Mitchell, Amir Bakhsh, identified the child as “Junior” and described him as a “cute, little boy and playful. ... My 18-month-old daughter and the boy would play together.”
Crystal police released a photo of the smiling, curly-haired boy on Tuesday, but declined to identify him.
Bakhsh, who only knew the boy’s mother as Ashley, said she came for her belongings and moved out. Four weeks before the boy’s death, Mitchell was sentenced on a misdemeanor domestic assault conviction. While Hennepin County Judge Bruce Peterson sentenced Mitchell to 90 days in the workhouse, the judge stayed all but two days of the term.
Mitchell also has a misdemeanor disorderly conduct conviction on his record stemming from his involvement in a fight in November 2015. He is currently jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.
According to the criminal complaint and police:
About 11 p.m. Saturday, the boy’s mother called 911 from the home because her son was not breathing.
The child was found “unconscious, bruised and critically ill,” a police statement read.
He was taken to a hospital, where doctors determined the boy had head and eye injuries and bruises on his left arm, shoulder, ear, cheek and forehead, “all indicative of child abuse,” a statement from the county attorney’s office read. The boy died on Sunday.
On the night that paramedics were called, Tahmina Bakhsh said she heard loud thuds coming from Mitchell’s apartment and the sound of the boy crying. Amir Bakhsh said he heard the defendant yelling, “shut up,” followed by banging noises from the bedroom upstairs.
Mitchell told police that the boy had been sick lately and he was having difficulty getting the boy to lay down and go to bed. He said he had hit the boy numerous times, sometimes on the face with a flip-flop “no more than five times,” but noted that he made sure he didn’t hit the child too hard.