Judge Arraigns Mom, Boyfriend on Murder Charges in 2-Year-Old's Beating Death

A judge in suburban Philadelphia ordered a mother and her boyfriend to stand trial on third-degree murder charges in the death of her 2-year-old son.

Shannon Matthews and Daniel Grafton Jr. appeared in Delaware County court Tuesday to be formally arraigned in the bathtub death of Matthew’s son Mason Hunt. Judge James Nilon ordered charges including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, aggravated assault and simple assault charges to proceed. Grafton, 31, also faces a reckless endangerment charge.

If found guilty on all counts, both could face more than 100 years in prison and more than $150,000 in fines, reported the Delco Times.

Mason, 2, suffered more than 120 bruises from beatings before being found unresponsive face down in a bathtub on Feb. 3, prosecutors said.

"Satan is living inside of them," said Carol Patterson, Mason's aunt, said earlier this year. "They are not people, they are not human beings, they are animals."

Grafton, who was babysitting, brought the boy into a doctor's office below their Norwood apartment, where Matthews worked, that afternoon saying he was not breathing, according to prosecutors. The boy had a number of bruises on his head and upper body, prosecutors said. A doctor performed CPR until paramedics arrived to take him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy found — in addition to the bruises to his head and upper abdomen — that Hunt had dozens of pinch marks all over his body, a liver laceration and bruises to his genitals, prosecutors said. Based on the findings, Delaware County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Fredric Hellman ruled the boy's death a homicide.

"To be able to do this to a 2-year-old, I don't care how bad a 2-year-old was, [he] does not deserve to be murdered," Patterson said.

Children and Youth Services had been monitoring the family following a Jan. 5 domestic dispute where Hunt had his head and eyes doused with seasoning salt, prosecutors said.

Matthews and Grafton remained jailed without bail.

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