Baby-sitter accused in beating death
July 24, 2007 (WLS) -- A teenage babysitter accused of beating a 3-year-old toddler to death appeared in court Tuesday to face murder charges. Prosecutors say 16-year-old Eric Grey became enraged when the girl soiled her pants. He allegedly beat her with an aluminum broomstick.
Grey is being charged as an adult. Tuesday, a judge set the teenager's bond at $800,000. At the time of the incident, Grey was taking care of the victim and two other children. Three-year-old Azuil Warren died from severe brain trauma.
"I held her until she took her last breath. She died in my arms," said Louise Owens, victim's grandmother.
One day after 3-year-old Azuil Warren died in her grandmothers arms the toddler's 16-year-old babysitter stood before a judge charged with first degree murder. Prosecutors say Eric Grey beat Azuil with an aluminum broomstick and belt.
"There are facts will come out of regarding to him being in charge of the children, if in fact he was. As to the circumstances of what happened, right now I can't talk about that" said Jacqueline Ross, assistant public defender.
While police reported Grey was upset after the 3-year-old soiled her pants, prosecutors told the judge Grey beat the girl after she played with a toy she was not supposed to play with. The public defender representing Grey says the teenager is on suicide watch.
"He is going to Cermak Hospital based on his prior psychiatric history which has been documented in some of the papers that have come over today. I believe he is suicidal. He has attention deficit disorder," said Ross.
The beating took place on Sunday night at this apartment building on West Division Street. Grey was babysitting Azuil and her 6-year-old brother while Grey's mother was being dropped off at work by Azuil's father. Police say the teenager's mother was dating the toddler's father. But for most of the toddler's short life she was cared for by her grandmother.
"I was blessed to have her in my life. So, everybody around her just loved her. Her nickname was Sugar," said Owens.
Owens says Azuil was her youngest grandchild. Owens said she has no idea what happened. Owens did not know the toddler was being cared for by Eric Grey. Owens thought the girl was with her father.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is conducting its own investigation. DCFS has had no previous contact with the girl's family.
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