HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A 40-year-old man has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder for beating his girlfriend's eight-year-old child with a belt in October 2020.
In a press release, The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said the child's mother called 911 on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, after realizing her eight-year-old son was struggling to breathe and had become unresponsive.
After being transported to Brandon Hospital and then airlifted to John's Hopkins All Children's Hospital, doctors found several large areas of contusions, welts, scarring, and small lacerations on the child's lower back and rear area. Despite attempts to stabilize the child, he died a day later.
HCSO said that detectives discovered Tyrone Covington, the child's mother's boyfriend, has abused the eight-year-old with a belt during interviews. Autopsy results concluded that the blunt trauma caused the child's death and ruled it a homicide, which resulted in HCSO issuing a warrant for Covington's arrest.
On Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, Covington was taken into custody by the St. Petersburg Police Department, according to HCSO's press release.
"This was not merely a form of punishment. The excessive beating this child endured ultimately led to his death," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "Our hearts ache as we investigate this horrific case of child abuse. While no punishment will ever bring this young child back, we hope a First Degree Murder charge keeps this man where he deserves to be: Jail."
Covington is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.