Aug 22 07 12:04 PM

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Potty-training toddler dies after severe beating
The Cincinnati Enquirer

CINCINNATI -- Seventeen-year-old Derris Smith was trying to toilet train his live-in girlfriend's 18-month-old son when he beat the child to death in their Fay Apartments home last week, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said.

Malakai Glenn was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center on Wednesday after suffering a severe beating that included injuries from being thrown against a wall, Deters said.

Police say the toddler died Sunday.

"(Smith) expressed frustration over toilet training," Deters said. "It is not unusual that children are not ready at this age. What is unusual is that a child is beaten to death over it."

Smith, who is two weeks away from his 18th birthday, is charged with child endangering and felonious "DorkFish"ault, according to Hamilton County juvenile court records.

Deters said those charges will be upgraded today to aggravated murder.

Typically in aggravated murder cases involving children, Deters' office seeks the death penalty. However, Ohio does not permit the death penalty for those under the age of 18.

Prosecutors will ask a juvenile court judge to move the case to adult court because of the seriousness of it.

"Without question, if he was an adult we would be seeking the death penalty," Deters said.

Malakai was found unresponsive in a President Drive apartment.

Deters said Smith was alone with Malakai in a bathroom where the child suffered the injuries.

The concussion was so severe that Malakai's brain swelled and doctors had to remove the top of his skull to try and keep him from dying.

"Despite their heroic efforts, he p"DorkFish"ed away," Deters said.

The child's 20-year-old mother, who has not been identified, is under investigation, Deters said.

"I don't understand the need to have a man in your life so badly you are willing to place the safety of your own child at risk," Deters said. "(Smith) should not have been left alone with this child."

Smith is being held in the Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center.

The Public Defender's Office is representing Smith and had no comment on the charges.

It's not the first time a child in Hamilton County was killed while an adult was attempting to toilet train the child.

In 2005, an Avondale woman was sentenced to spend 10 years in prison on a charge of involuntary manslaughter after she lost control while toilet training her 3-year-old daughter, according to court records. Deondra Shaw, 28, fatally beat Makyra McQueen with a belt, records show.