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A soldier beat his two-year-old daughter to death after he became enraged that she soiled her diaper. US Army specialist, 20-year-old Dartarious Graham has been charged with capital murder for allegedly beating Payton, his daughter, to death. After the child went limp, emergency assistance was called and Payton was rushed to El Paso Children’s Hospital and pronounced dead an hour later.
The soldier is stationed at Fort Bliss and assisted to the 1st Armored Division. In an email a Fort Bliss spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Lee Peters, said Fort Bliss is cooperating fully with the El Paso police department, who retains jurisdiction in this case.
According to police, Graham became upset after the toddler soiled her diaper and he took her into the bedroom and beat her with a belt. His cousin, Robert Franklin, witnessed the attack but did nothing to prevent it. Franklin looked through the bedroom door and saw his cousin beating the child but then walked away while the soldier continued to beat her. Franklin was also charged for his part in the crime. The 19-year-old was charged with injury by omission.
Police department spokesman, Detective Mike Baranyay, reported in the state of Texas it is mandatory that adults take steps to protect a child who is being abused or to report any child abuse they are aware of. This is why Franklin was arrested. Baranyay said:
It is important to remember that there are always options when people know a child is being abused. There are options in getting help to the family such as calling the police, contacting a counselor the family may have available to them or reaching out to another family member. But in these cases, where you are actually seeing the child being physically beaten, and you are capable of physically intervening, I think you have some responsibility to step forward and do that. At the minimum you need to call the police.
Injuries on the little girl appeared to be suspicious and Crimes Against Persons was requested to take over the investigation. Police investigation and other bruises on the child’s body indicated Graham has beaten Payton in times past. Baranyay was unaware of any reports being filed with police regarding past instances of abuse to the two-year-old girl. Reportedly the couple has another child. Baranyay said he is not sure of the boy’s whereabouts or if he was present in the apartment at the time the beating took place.
Although Elizabeth Graham, the child’s 23-year-old mother, was not home when her child was beaten to death, she was also arrested because allegedly she knows of earlier abuse but never reported it to authorities. Investigators learned that she not only failed to notify authorities but also failed to intervene or protect her daughter. Elizabeth was also charged with injury to a child by omission.
Dartarious, Elizabeth and Franklin are being held in El Paso County jail. Elizabeth’s bond was set at $20,000, Franklin’s bond was set at $5,000 and Dartarious’ bail is set at $250,000. This soldier, who signed up to protect the nation but failed to protect his little girl, could face life without parole or even the death penalty if convicted.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)