Grandfather beats 12-year-old grandson to death with sledgehammer in row over money

Grandfather beats 12-year-old grandson to death with sledgehammer in row over money
This is not the first time Mr Martina has been charged with homicide

A 53-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested for beating his 12-year-old grandson to death with a mallet, sledgehammer, two belts, a coat rack, and a cane, after accusing him of stealing money from his wallet, a local report said.

The man, Andrez D Martina, was charged with five felonies, including first degree intentional homicide, and faces a prison sentence for life.

On Saturday, Mr Martina woke up in the middle of the night and thought some money was missing from his wallet. At the time, he was hosting his two grandsons – aged 12 and 8 – after coming back to Milwaukee from Indiana in a bid to strengthen his bond with the two kids.

Suspecting the two kids of having something to do with the missing money, he started assaulting them.

His aim shifted to the elder one — Andre R Smith — who was then beaten to death in his grandfather’s house on 46th street on Milwaukee’s north side.

Next day, Mr Martina sent a text message to the child’s grandmother Illysha McCroy accusing the 12-year-old of stealing. On being asked where the boy was, he said the child was hurt, the report said.

Ms McCroy then rushed to the house with her daughter and her partner who then rushed Andre to Children’s Wisconsin hospital. He was pronounced dead on arrival.

The attack on the child was witnessed by his disabled great-grandmother who could not intervene.

According to her, the child made two desperate attempts to escape the beating — with the first one being running out of the home, and the second time locking himself in the bathroom. Mr Martina overpowered the child in both the attempts by dragging him back in the house and then picking the lock of the bathroom, she said.

The younger sibling suffered a broken finger and bruising.

Talking to the police, Mr Martina admitted to killing his grandchild, stating that he had warned the kids in the past. “If you lie, if you mess up in school, if you steal, I’m going to kill you,” the complaint with the police read.

Mr Martina said he lost control while beating the 12-year-old and will have to deal with this for the rest of his life, the report said.

This is not the first time he has been charged with homicide. Online police records show that the man was previously convicted in a first-degree reckless homicide in Milwaukee County in 1990.

Homicides targeting younger people are on the rise in Milwaukee where the city has seen at least nine such incidents in the last week of August, with seven victims falling in the 12-19 years age group.

According to Ms McCroy, Andre’s grandmother, the child had seen trauma and crisis therapists for the last year, after experiencing a rough childhood.

The child had started showing progress.

Calling him a bright kid with an infectious smile, she said: “I was gradually getting him back to trying to be a kid. He was that light in a dark place, even though he had a rough childhood. He was just bright. I don’t see how people can harm kids … but especially not Andre. That smile he had was so infectious.”


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