9-year-old found guilty in death of toddler

February 14, 2008 7:55:08 PM PST
A 9-year-old boy accused in the beating death of a toddler at a day care center last summer has been found guilty of the juvenile equivalent of manslaughter. The boy, identified only as "J.L.," was "adjudicated delinquent" and sentenced to 18 months probation. He must continue the counseling and therapy he is already undergoing, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said Thursday night.

Prosecutors had sought to have the youth serve a three-year sentence at a juvenile facility, the maximum allowed under law.

The boy was originally charged with aggravated manslaughter in the Aug. 23 death of 11-month-old Tahir Francis of Carteret, who died from head injuries after being kicked at the Beverly Bryant Family Day Care facility in Woodbridge Township.

It is still not clear what provoked the attack.

Beverly Bryant, 64, who operated the licensed facility out of her home, was not in the room when the infant was kicked. Authorities have said Bryant was distracted by a phone call and other home chores.

The center was ordered closed and Bryant was charged with child endangerment. She has pleaded not guilty.


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