Newark couple charged in death of abused child
NEWARK — Authorities have charged the mother of an 8-year-old boy and her boyfriend in the death of the child after he suffered blunt-force trauma and cardiac arrest.
Khadejrah Rawls, 28, and Christopher Spearman, 29, have been charged with first-degree aggravated manslaughter among other charges for their role in the death of Rawls' son.
Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Amber Loughran said the charges come from an incident on the morning of Oct. 2, when the Newark Police Department responded to the couple's home on North Munn Avenue for a call about an unresponsive child. After being taken to University Hospital, the boy was pronounced dead later that morning.
Rawls was also charged with promoting or facilitating the aggravated manslaughter for "failing to take steps to protect her son." She is also charged with multiple counts of endangering the welfare of a child by abusing and/or neglecting the boy for allegedly "not providing adequate food, clothing, or living conditions" for the boy who died, as well as her four other young children. Spearman is the father of the two youngest children.
The couple was charged with endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly hitting the boy in his head and body. Spearman has been charged with causing serious bodily injury to the boy, as well as possession of a weapon, which authorities identified as "a belt, iron rod and/or wood stick." He was also charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Spearman and Rawls were taken to the Essex County Correctional Facility and are scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 6.