Jamal Cruz was beat to death because he had a bathroom accident, according to prosecutors. The ugly part of life was certainly stacked against this 9-year old Camden boy.
The man accused of killing him had been arrested for beating him before, but the law and Jamal's own mother allowed that man back in the house and the abuse continued, according to prosecutors.
Vincent Williams was arraigned on first-degree murder charges Wednesday. The tears he wiped away didn't buy any empathy at all from the victim's family.
"It was very much like watching a monster, no question about it," said Jamal's grandfather, Robert McGee.
Williams confessed to killing Jamal. "He stated in his own words, 'I murdered him,'" the prosecutor said during court.
That beating happened at Jamal's Camden home Monday morning, according to investigators.
"He admitted to punching the child twice and kicking the child in the stomach at least four times," said the prosecutor. Williams also confessed to hitting Jamal at least 20 times since January.
Investigators said when Williams wanted to beat Jamal, he would send the boy's mother on errands.
Court officials told NBC10 that Williams was arrested in December of 2007 for beating Jamal with a belt. In March of 2008, Williams was sentenced to probation.
"The system again failed the children, the child," said McGee. "Now we have to deal with justice."
But for now, McGee says he must put his search for answers on hold.
"I just want to bury him, have a service and bury him and what he needs and that's peace."