Man indicted in Shinnecock baby death

August 11, 2010 3:22:09 PM PDT
Roy Jones was just 17 months old, but according to prosecutors, he endured more pain than most people do in a lifetime.

"We're just going to put it in the hands of the law and hopefully make sure that justice is done," said one Shinnecock resident.

Over a dozen members of the Southampton Shinnecock Tribe packed into a Riverhead courtroom to hear the indictment against 20-year-old Pedro Jones, Roy's mother's boyfriend.

He allegedly confessed to beating the baby to death.

"What is contained in his confession corroborates the findings of the medical examiner, in terms of the number of times the child was struck, the period of time over which these injuries occurred," said Prosecutor Robert Biancavilla.

He endured no fewer than 26 external injuries, some, inflicted over months.

Plus he suffered internal injuries to his lungs, heart and brain.

Prosecutors say they've secured multiple confessions including one on tape for 80 minutes.

And one in which Jones reportedly said he wanted the baby to "act like a boy, instead of a little girl."

The case has set off a storm of emotions within the tight-knit Shinnecock Nation.

The beating happened last Sunday on tribal land, in a home Roy and his mom shared with Jones, who is not a member of the tribe.

"If my brother was guilty why would he stay there? Guilty people don't hang around and wait for the repercussions of their actions. They don't. They leave. They flee," said the defendant's brother, Pete Lawrence.

Wednesday, Jones' family insisted Pedro, who has no prior police record, has simply been covering for someone else.

As for his confessions, defense attorney William Ferris says they were made with no counsel present.

He plans to try and convince the judge to throw them out.

Eyewitness News asked Mr. Ferris if he believed the statements were coerced.

He answered, "I only have right now the copy of the statements. I intend to find out," Ferris said.