A Baton Rouge man's second-degree murder conviction and life prison term in the 2011 beating death of his girlfriend's 23-month-old son was affirmed Friday by a state appeals court.
Randy Demond Parker beat Demarcus Gray Stokes Jr. at Parker's Erie Street home because the child would not sit still for a haircut and after he urinated on himself, authorities have said. Parker was a convicted felon at the time.
A relieved Sue Gray smiled, raised her arms and looked skyward outside the Baton Rouge state…
Parker, 28, challenged the sufficiency of the evidence presented at his judge trial and also attacked his sentence, calling it excessive.
The state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal rejected his arguments on both issues. The evidence clearly established that the toddler was "severely abused," the appellate court said.
"By the defendant's own admission, he whipped the victim with a belt multiple times on the date of his death and punched him until he 'accidentally' hit the victim in his mouth," Circuit Judge Michael McDonald wrote for the court.
"Medical testimony at trial clearly established that the victim's death was caused by trauma to his head, trunk, and extremities. The medical testimony also indicated that there had been rapid movements taking place in the victim's head and brain," he added.
Parker waited to call 911 after realizing the boy was unconscious, McDonald noted.
Parker was convicted by state District Judge Trudy White in June 2015 and sentenced in September of that year. Kimyia Stokes, the boy's mother and Parker's girlfriend, pleaded guilty in December 2015 to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
With her boyfriend already serving a life prison term in the 2011 beating death of her 23-mo…
Stokes, 27, witnessed some of the beatings. She also faced a cruelty to a juvenile charge, but it was dismissed after her guilty plea.
Parker told detectives he was "full of alcohol" the night he punched the boy with a closed fist and continued to hit the child after he fell to the floor.
When 23-month-old Demarcus Stokes would not sit still for a haircut and later urinated on hi…
Stokes told investigators that Parker beat her son three times in less than 24 hours on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23, 2011. She said she observed two of the beatings and heard her son screaming during the third.
Dr. Bruce Wainer, the pathologist who performed Demarcus' autopsy, said the boy's injuries were no accident. He testified at Parker's trial that the toddler suffered bleeding under the scalp and on the surface of his brain. Wainer also found a considerable amount of bruising on the child's head, torso, arms and legs.
The injuries that led to the death of Demarcus Stokes in 2011 were extensive. The Baton Roug…
Prosecutors chose not to seek the death penalty against Parker, who stood trial on a first-degree murder charge, after receiving evidence that he was possibly intellectually disabled. The U.S. Supreme Court has barred intellectually disabled inmates from being executed.