Before 10-year-old Kentea Williams drowned in his bathtub Friday, his adoptive father was allegedly overheard saying, “You’re going to die tonight.”
DeKalb County police documents released Monday accuse Leon H. Williams, 43, of burning the boy’s feet and holding him underwater while lecturing him about acting out in school. CPR efforts by the father and emergency workers failed at their apartment on Glen Hollow Drive outside Decatur, a police report says.
Williams, who had reportedly been the boy’s foster father before adopting him, is charged with murder and child cruelty.
Warrants say Williams told police he spanked Kentea about 10 times with a belt and poured hot water on his feet in their home at Serenade Apartments.
“There were visible burns and blistering to the child’s feet,” one warrant says. “The suspect stated that the child was not listening to the suspect as he was lecturing him, and admitted to holding the child under water for 30 to 45 seconds and then repeating the same action again.”
A little while earlier, a woman in the apartment heard the boy “throwing a fit” because he didn’t want to take a bath.
Then there was silence.
Williams called the woman, whose relationship to him isn’t clear, to the bathroom and told her to dial 911.
As the father drained the tub and pulled Kentea out, the woman could see burn marks on the child’s feet. The water looked hot, she told police.
Kentea was soon rushed by ambulance to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Egleston, where he was later pronounced dead. The father was booked in the county jail at 2:35 a.m. the next day and remains held without bond, records show.
Defense attorney, Leeanne Lynch, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Mr. Williams maintains his innocence and we’re going to do our best to represent him zealously.”
According to the police report, another woman told police she had seen the suspect and victim in the parking lot earlier Friday. She said Williams grabbed the boy by the neck.
Williams told the woman Kentea was getting in trouble in school again, the police report says.
The woman offered Williams a drink “because he looked furious.”
She told police she soon heard him tell the boy he was going to die as they were walking toward the apartment.
She could see fear in the boy.
But the first 911 call didn’t come until later, after Kentea had already stopped breathing.
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