Newton man charged in death of 7-year-old boy

A Newton County man has been charged in the death of his girlfriend’s 7-year-old son, according to police.

David Mann Jr., 25, is charged with murder, aggravated battery and cruelty to children in the death of Ethan Israel Martinez, according to the Newton County Sheriff’s office.

Deputies were called to the home on Sept. 18, where they found the child unresponsive,” said Newton County sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Tyrone Oliver. Mann, the live-in boyfriend of Martinez’s mother, was the only adult home at the time of the incident, Oliver said.

Martinez was taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston with head injuries inflicted by Mann, police said. Ethan Martinez died on Sept. 23.

The boy's father told Channel 2 Action News when he received a call on Sept. 18 informing him his son had been rushed to the hospital, he suspected foul play.

Jesus Martinez said when he reached the hospital, he saw Mann being arrested.

“Sometimes I think it’s just a bad dream,” Jesus Martinez told Channel 2.

Martinez said he’s heard different versions of events leading up to the death. He said he’s been told Ethan was shaken at his Covington home and accidently fell, but Martinez said he did not believe that explanation.

“I know it’s not just shaking him, something more,” Martinez said.

Martinez said he had not seen his son in more than a year. He said that was the result of a contentious divorce from Ethan’s mother. The man said the mother threatened to call police if he came to their home.

“I just cried every night. I (was) just feeling something wrong is going to happen,” Martinez said.

Mann is being held without bond in the Newton County Jail.