Florida Boy, 12, Charged With Baseball-Bat Beating Death of Toddler

A 12-year-old boy beat a toddler to death with a baseball bat because she was crying while he was trying to watch TV, authorities said.

The boy, who was not identified, was arrested Saturday on first-degree murder charges, Lauderhill police spokesman Lt. Mike Cochran said.

He was arraigned in juvenile court Sunday and remained in custody, but it was not clear if he had an attorney or if anyone else would be charged in the girl's death.

Cochran said the boy confessed to authorities that he was home alone Friday baby-sitting a 10-year-old girl and the 17-month-old girl and became angry when the toddler began to cry. The relationship between the three was not clear.

At some point, an adult called 911. The girl, Shaloh Joseph, was rushed to a hospital where she was pronounced dead of blunt force trauma to the head, Cochran said.

The Miami Herald identified the boy's mother as Guerla Joseph. A telephone listing for a Guerla Joseph in Fort Lauderdale had been disconnected.

The case is not the first in Florida where a boy so young has been charged in the death of a child. Lionel Tate was 12 when he beat and stomped to death a playmate half his age in Florida.

At the time, Tate was the youngest person in modern U.S. history to receive a life prison sentence. His attorneys initially said he accidentally killed 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick in 1999 while imitating pro wrestling moves.

Tate was convicted as an adult of first-degree murder, but the conviction was thrown out in 2004, and Tate pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.