Knoxville man convicted of beating 11-year-old boy to death
A Knoxville man who viciously beat to death an 11-year-old boy for refusing to vacuum an apartment is guilty of third-degree murder, an Allegheny County jury decided Tuesday.
A judge will sentence Anthony Bush, 29, on April 23 for the fatal beating of his girlfriend's son last February. Prosecutors said Bush beat Donovan McKee over nine hours, using a metal pipe, barbells, belts and sticks, at the Rochelle Towers apartment Bush shared with Donovan's mother, Cynthia McKee, and his brother, Vincere, 5, who witnessed the beating.
The family declined to comment when leaving court but released a statement through the District Attorney's Office, thanking jurors “for their hard work in the face of what was difficult, emotional and heart-wrenching testimony regarding the death of Donovan. We would also like everyone to know that Vincere is now surrounded by our family and is being lovingly cared for.”
Public defender Lisa Middleman didn't deny that Bush killed the boy but said he didn't intend to. She said Bush, abused as a child, had mental problems.
Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pelligrini said Bush called Cynthia McKee about 9 p.m. on Feb. 11, 2012, to ask her where he could find a needle and thread, and then told her to come home from work. Prosecutors said he stitched a wound on Donovan's head.
When McKee arrived home about 10 p.m., she found the boy naked and unresponsive on the couch, with blood in his nose and mouth. Bush and McKee called 911 about an hour and 40 minutes later. The boy died the next morning at Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville.
McKee pleaded guilty last month to involuntary manslaughter. Common Pleas President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel will sentence her March 27. She is free on electronic monitoring.
Four years before Donovan's death, county Children Youth and Families caseworkers spent several months working with his family, a state official said. Someone reported the family to the agency, citing “parental concerns.” That prompted in-home supportive services from October 2007 to March 2008, said Carey Miller, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Welfare.
Miller declined to say who made the referral or what concerns were stated. Detectives said the boy had older, healed injuries and bruises from beatings.
The support services would have included home visits by staff and caseworker evaluations, Miller said.
Elaine Plunkett, spokeswoman for county Human Services, said confidentiality laws prohibit CYF from discussing such cases. This family's case was closed and caseworkers had no involvement with them in the year before Donovan's death, officials said.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.