NEW ORLEANS – Danny Platt said he was under a lot of pressure. He apparently owed his estranged wife $4,000 in back child support.
But there were no signs of stress when the 22-year-old father, accused of killing his 2-year-old son over the child support debt, went to pick up his little boy for a weekend visit, his mother said Sunday.
On Friday, several hours after her son, Ja' Shawn, left, Daniella Powell received a phone call. It was Platt. He said their son had been kidnapped and quickly hung up.
Powell called back in disbelief. She said her husband gave different accounts of the kidnapping. She asked if he had called police. He said he had, but when she called authorities, they hadn't heard from him.
Police said Platt made up an elaborate story about his son being kidnapped by three men armed with AK-47 rifles late Friday night. Platt eventually confessed to the killing, telling authorities he "would kill either his wife or his child before he paid child support," Police Superintendent Warren Riley said Saturday.
Later, he led police to the boy's body. He has been booked on a charged of first-degree murder.
On Saturday night, as he was being led to jail in handcuffs, Platt said he was under a lot of pressure and acknowledged killing his son, but disputed the slaying occurred solely over the debt to his estranged wife.
"I'm sorry about killing my baby," Platt told reporters. "I had a whole bunch of reasons."
It's not clear whether Platt has an attorney. Telephone messages left Sunday for New Orleans police and the coroner's office were not immediately returned.
Powell said Sunday the two never had any violent fights and Platt wasn't going through any emotional problems.
"He knew what he was doing. He killed my 2-year-old son," she said.
Powell said her son's body was found in a plastic bag at a park. She and her family were busy preparing her son's funeral arrangements.
"I don't have money for anything. We are trying to come up with it now," Powell said.
Police said Saturday in announcing the arrest that Platt hadn't seen his son in quite some time. Powell said Platt had taken the boy trick-or-treating on Halloween, but acknowledged they hadn't spoken for a couple of months. However, she didn't think it was odd Platt wanted to spend the weekend with his son.
Ja 'Shawn was excited about seeing his father, she said. "He went to the door and said, 'Daddy' when he came to pick him up," she said.