Ellsworth Hull

Courtesy of Baton Rouge Police Department. 

An elderly father turned himself in late Tuesday and was arrested hours after Baton Rouge police issued a warrant accusing him of beating to death his mentally disabled adult son, then cleaning up the scene and waiting several hours before he contacting his attorney, who called 911.

The son was found dead in the bathtub of his family's home on Valentine's Day and a warrant was signed Tuesday for the arrest of Ellsworth Hull, 77, who told detectives he repeatedly struck his son with a wooden mop handle and then noticed he wasn't "coming to like he normally does."

Hull did not immediately call 911 but instead called his attorney, who contacted police, according to the warrant. The coroner's office estimated the son, Derrick Christophe, 40, had been dead for at least 12 hours before first responders arrived on scene.

Baton Rouge police failed to notify the media about Christophe's killing, which became public only after the arrest warrant for his father was filed into the court record on Tuesday — four days after he was found dead and an estimated five days after the fatal beating likely occurred.

When police arrived at the home on Shelley Street, which is a residential neighborhood off Evangeline Street, they found Christophe's nude body "in a seated position in the bathtub," according to the warrant. Officers noticed "severe bruising to the victim's arms, legs and back" and said that "some of the wounds appeared to be old."

There was no blood on the body and only a few drops throughout the house, indicating the scene had been cleaned up, police said in the warrant. Officers also found empty bleach bottles and a broken wooden mop handle as well as a broken metal broom handle with jagged edges.

Hull spoke to detectives with his attorney present and admitted to striking his son with the mop handle, saying he also may have beaten him with the broom handle, according to the warrant. Hull also said he noticed Christophe wasn't "coming to like he normally does." Hull said he "changed the water in the bathtub several times while he tried to figure out what to do."

Police said Hull acknowledged similar incidents in the past, one about a week ago, when his son grabbed him and he responded by striking him with the wooden stick. Hull was not injured during any of the struggles.

An autopsy found that Christophe died from internal bleeding due to multiple blunt force injuries. Hull was booked into jail on one count of second-degree murder.


Contact Katelyn Umholtz at kumholtz@theadvocate.com.