A Texas court has sentenced a father who dealt his 2-year-old son a beating during a potty training incident, resulting in the boy’s death. Police arrested Antonio Hicks Sr. last July after his son died at a Houston area hospital. After initially claiming innocence, Hicks now faces a harsh penalty for his crime.
Authorities say Hicks was potty training his son, Antonio Hicks Jr., at the time of the incident. The boy’s mother told deputies she was in another room when she heard slaps that gradually turned into harder punches. When she went to investigate, she found her son unresponsive.
The boy was rushed to an emergency room, where he died on July 25, 2020. According to investigators, ER staff noted that the boy had several injuries both old and new, and called the police.
Questioned by authorities, Hicks reportedly claimed that a stranger had attacked him and his son as they were walking. However, the father later admitted that he had “snapped” when he found the 2-year-old smearing feces on the bathroom floor, striking the boy in the chest “too hard.”
Police arrested Hicks, charging him with injury to a child. The charge was later upgraded to murder, to which the father pleaded guilty.
The boy’s family held a memorial for him on July 26, 2020, the day after his passing. Attendees lit candles and brought stuffed animals from Paw Patrol, the toddler’s favorite show.
Speaking to ABC 13, the boy’s uncle, Kali Brown, pleaded for all children to have the chance to live, which was robbed from his nephew.
“We mattered to people when we were kids, so every kid should have at least a chance at life,” Brown said.
At a recent sentencing, Hicks received a 45-year prison sentence. He will reportedly receive credit for one year spent behind bars since the crime.