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Carroll man accused of killing 3-year-old claims boy’s death was an accident

Joshua David Richards, 21, wept while the judge read the charges against him Monday in Carroll County.
Joshua David Richards, 21, wept while the judge read the charges against him Monday in Carroll County.

A Villa Rica man accused of beating of his 3-year-old stepson to death appeared in court Monday for the second time in less than a week.

Joshua David Richards, the 21-year-old son of Carrollton police Chief Joel Richards, was charged with murder after the boy died of injuries consistent with beating. The child, three-year old Brentley Gore, was airlifted last week to an Atlanta-area hospital, where he died on Sunday.

Richards was initially charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, first-degree cruelty to children and posession of marijuana after police responded to a call of a child injured at the Hickory Falls Apartments. According to Richards' arrest warrant, the child's injuries included multiple skull fractures, bleeding in the brain, stroke and seizures.

Richards maintains the boy's death was an accident resulting from a fall, according to Mack Pilgrim, the public defender appointed to represent him.

Joshua Richards, 21, is accused of injuring the 3-year-old so much that the child had to be airlifted to an Atlanta hospital.