A Newark mother and her live-in boyfriend are now charged with aggravated manslaughter in the death of her 7-year-old son.
Essex County prosecutors say the upgrade came after the Oct. 2 death of Michael Moore Jr. was ruled a homicide. An autopsy determined he died from multiple blunt impact injuries.
The boy's mother, 28-year-old Khadejrah Rawls, and 29-year-old Christopher Spearman were each initially charged with child endangerment. Spearman also faced an aggravated assault count.
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A public defender who handled the couple's initial court appearance declined comment.
Moore was found unresponsive at a North Munn Avenue home and died a short time later at a hospital.
Four other children, ranging in age from two months to six years old, and three pit bull puppies were also found in the home. Those children are now in the care of child protective services.