COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A man who called his girlfriend's son a "crybaby" and a "wuss" shook the baby and shoved him into a dresser when the boy wouldn't stop crying, according to prosecutors and police.
Vernon Henry, 26, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Adonta McCoy, 22 months, who died Saturday after suffering the alleged abuse on Thursday in a South Shore apartment. Henry was ordered held without bail by Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. after appearing in court Sunday.
Police initially said the boy suffered burns when he was taken to Comer Children's Hospital in critical condition. According to a police arrest report, Henry was arrested and admitted that he threw Adonta into the air, resulting in the child hitting the floor and losing consciousness.
Assistant State's Attorney Jacqueline Kwilos said Henry, the live-in boyfriend of Adonta's mother, was taking care of the boy alone Thursday in the 6900 block of South Cornell Avenue when Adonta began crying. Henry became irritated and violently shook Adonta, Kwilos said.
Henry often called the baby "a crybaby" and a "wuss," court documents said. He thought Adonta "needed to be toughened up" because he often cried, according to Kwilos.
When the boy didn't stop crying Thursday, Henry allegedly choked Adonta, then pushed him face-first into a dresser, causing injuries to his head. Henry then put a "lethargic" Adonta in bed until his mother came home from her grandmother's house, according to Kwilos
Henry later admitted to shaking, choking and shoving Adonta, Kwilos said.
When Adonta's mother came home, Henry was "acting panicked" and told her Adonta had slipped and fell while being bathed, According to Kwilos. Adonta's mother looked in on her son, but didn't see any injuries and thought he was sleeping.
Later, when she picked Adonta up and he did not wake, she called 911. Henry allegedly told her to tell authorities Adonta struck his head while bathing.
Adonta suffered blunt-force injuries and severe brain damage, according to a police report.
He was pronounced dead at Comer at 4:38 p.m. Saturday, the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said.