What to Know
- A 2-year-old New Jersey boy was beaten to death by his mother's boyfriend, prosecutors say
- The man was apparently angry over the groceries the child's mother bought, and the boy became upset when the man pushed his mother
- That's when the man turned his anger toward the boy and told him to put up his fists and fight like a man, then punched him, prosecutors say
Prosecutors say a New Jersey man accused of fatally beating his girlfriend's toddler son told the boy to "put up his hands" to fight while the couple argued over groceries.
Zachary Tricoche, of Pennsauken, was arraigned Tuesday on murder charges but didn't enter a plea. His bail was set at $1 million cash.
Camden County prosecutors say the beating occurred Saturday night at a Pennsauken home. They said Tricoche and the woman started arguing because he didn't like the groceries she bought.
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Authorities say the boy became upset when Tricoche pushed his mother. He then allegedly punched the 30-pound boy twice in the torso and the child hit his head on the wall, knocking him out.
Tricoche then struck the boy again while telling him to put his hands up and fight like a grown man, prosecutors allege.
The boy's mother called 911, and emergency responders found him unresponsive at the home. He was pronounced dead at Cooper University Hospital.
Prosecutors say the boy, Jamil "JB" Baskerville Jr., died from blunt force abdominal trauma. Authorities said JB suffered injuries including severe blunt-force trauma to his organs and torso area, along with internal bleeding.
Tricoche told the judge he had a public defender, but the lawyer wasn't with him at the arraignment.
The judge set bail for Tricoche at $1 million.
Neighbors told NBC10 in Philadelphia the family moved in only a month ago and mostly kept to themselves.
"It breaks my heart," said Mabel Stevenson. "I can't even imagine what the parent, the family, feel like."