The son of a Georgia police chief was charged with murder Monday after allegedly using a belt to fatally injure his 3-year-old stepson.
Brentley Gore clung to life for five days before dying Sunday afternoon. He had been airlifted to a hospital with multiple skull fractures earlier in the week, according to a police spokesman.
Investigators say 21-year-old Joshua David Richards caused the injuries to the child using a belt.
The deceased toddler also suffered bleeding in the brain, stroke, and seizures, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported, citing Richards’ arrest warrant.
“The child was airlifted to an Atlanta-area hospital with multiple skull fractures,” police Capt. Keith Shaddix told WXIA-TV. “There was some swelling around the eyes, some bruising that showed up on the forehead.”
But Richards’ attorney has claimed the boy died after an accidental fall.
“Our belief is it happened during the night and the mother was actually asleep in a different room and was not aware of what was happening,” Shaddix said.
Richards was jailed Tuesday on aggravated assault, aggravated battery, first-degree cruelty to children and possession of marijuana.
Online records listed the murder charge after the toddler’s death.
Richards, who reportedly wept during his first court appearance, is the son of Carrollton Police Chief Josh Richards.
He's being held in Carroll County Jail without bond.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.