Thursday, May 3, 2007
By Missy Diaz
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
May 3, 2007
For having an accident in his pants, 3-year-old Kelvin Jackson was punished by his would-be stepmother, who beat him to death with a belt and her hands, according to a medical examiner.
The blows ruptured his heart, fractured his skull and caused his pancreas, neck and adrenal glands to hemorrhage and bruised his spleen, scalp and nearly his entire body.
Now the state is seeking in-kind punishment for the suspect, Tia Roundtree: Death.
Roundtree, 28, appeared in a Palm Beach County courtroom Wednesday to ask a judge to release her on bond while she awaits trial. Authorities initially charged Roundtree with aggravated battery and her bail was set at $10,000. After the murder charge was added, it doubled to $20,000. She left for Texas after posting bond.
A warrant for her arrest was issued April 11 after she failed to appear for a court hearing. Roundtree left for Texas after her attorney, Assistant Public Defender Robert Fallon, told her she didn't need to come to court, according to testimony. While in Texas she was charged with public assistance fraud.
On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Krista Marx revoked Roundtree's bond, explaining that she's facing a death sentence and has no ties to the community.
Sheriff's Detective Debi Phillips testified that Roundtree admitted beating the child with her hand and a belt that had rows of metal circles, which matched circular patterns on Kelvin's body. Kelvin's 7-year-old brother, Telvin Jackson Jr., told investigators that his brother was "whooped" because he had an accident.
Roundtree lived at the South Bay apartment with the boys' father, Telvin Jackson Sr., along with her own 3-year-old son. Telvin Sr. had gone to work at Glades Correctional Institution about 10 p.m. on Feb. 2, checking on the three boys, asleep in the same bed, before he left, according to Phillips. The following morning Kelvin was dead.
Roundtree told detectives she didn't think she hit Kelvin hard enough to cause so much injury, She said she never struck him in the head.
Kelvin would have died within seconds to a minute after his heart ruptured, according to Dr. Linda O'Neil, an associate medical examiner.
Valencia Jackson, Kelvin and Telvin's mother, said she had planned to come to Florida in February to bring her boys back to Texas. She said she had legal custody of the boys, but that their father had been keeping them for the past two years while she got on her feet financially. She is a stay-at-home mom, she said, to two older children, ages 10 and 9. She said Telvin Jr., who has cerebral palsy, would soon be returning to Texas.
The reality of Kelvin's death is sinking in with Telvin Jr.
"He's finally realized his brother's not coming back and sometimes he cries and he says he misses him," she said.
Though a trial date has not yet been set, Valencia Jackson said she plans to be at the proceedings. "I want her to get the death penalty and for me to see her suffer like I think my baby suffered."
Missy Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-228-5505.