A 7-year-old boy beat his baby half-sister to death with his fists, feet and a two-by-four because he was jealous of the attention the girl was receiving and because she would not stop crying, police said Wednesday.
The State Attorney's Office is deciding whether to file charges against the boy in an attack that rattled even veteran homicide detectives.
"The veteran detectives who worked on this case have never seen a case with someone as young as a 7-year-old show so much violence and so little remorse," Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.
The attack occurred May 22 in Tampa, where the boy had been visiting his father. Seven-month-old Jayza Laney Simms (search) was dead on arrival at the hospital where her parents rushed her.
The boy confessed to killing his sister a week later when detectives confronted him with the evidence, McElroy said.
The unidentified boy was not taken into custody and is living with his mother while prosecutors make their decision on whether to charge him.
Police said the father and his girlfriend were outside visiting with neighbors when the boy came to them about midnight on the night of the attack and told them the baby was "bleeding." They found the girl with a bloody nose and said she wasn't breathing.
Hillsborough County State Attorney's spokeswoman Pam Bondi said prosecutors were just beginning to review the case and the complex legal issues involved with bringing charges against such a young child. Among the elements prosecutors will have to consider is whether a child so young is competent to stand trial for a crime, Bondi said.
"There are a lot of issues," Bondi said. "This is the first time we have dealt with a 7-year-old accused of such a violent crime."