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Dad, Stepmom’s Corporal Punishments and Belt Beatings Left 12-Year-Old Boy Brain Dead and with Skin ‘Hanging Off of the Buttocks,’ Authorities Allege

Derrick Coles and Kapri Cheatam

Derrick Coles and Kapri Cheatam

A 32-year-old father in Texas and his 27-year-old wife are behind bars this week after they allegedly subjected his 12-year-old son to torturous punishments, forcing the child to spend hours holding 50-pound boxes and beating him until brain dead for being “disrespectful.”

Derrick Coles and Kapri Cheatom were taken into custody overnight and charged with one count each of first-degree causing injury to a child resulting in serious bodily injury, a first-degree felony, records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by San Antonio CBS affiliate KENS-5, officers with the San Antonio Police Department responded to a 911 call about a child who stopped breathing at a home located in the 7600 block of Wurzbach Road. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders reportedly found a 12-year-old boy who was unresponsive. Coles, who identified himself as the boy’s father, reportedly told police that his son had fallen down in the shower.

Emergency Medical Services personnel attempted to resuscitate the child before transporting him to University Hospital on Medical Drive. The medical staff that treated the boy, who was later identified as Danilo Coles, reportedly told investigators that the boy had sustained “several suspicious injuries,” San Antonio ABC affiliate KSAT-TV reported.

Shortly after arriving at the facility doctors reportedly said that Danilo had “no brain activity,” pronouncing him dead later that night.

Detectives took Coles and Cheatom in for questioning where the couple allegedly admitted to physically abusing Danilo in the lead up to his death.

Per KENS, Coles told investigators that his son had recently moved in with him and Cheatom after being raised in Chicago by his mother. The boy had allegedly been abused during his years in Chicago. Coles reportedly said that when Danilo moved in, he immediately started acting “disrespectful” and had “caused problems” for him and Cheatom, though specifics were not mentioned.

As punishment for acting out, Coles and Cheatom would reportedly force Danilo to do push-ups and stand up for hours holding boxes filled with water bottles that weighed approximately 50 pounds. Coles also reportedly admitted that he “busted” Danilo’s lip a few hours before his death.

At approximately 11 a.m. on the day of his death, Cheatom told detectives that the boy woke up at around 11 a.m. and cursed at her, Philadelphia Fox affiliate WTXF-TV reported. He was then reportedly ordered to hold up a pair of boxes weighing about 50 pounds. When he couldn’t hold the boxes up any longer, he was reportedly given a second set of smaller boxes. When he could no longer hold them, he was ordered to do push-ups. Per the report, this punishment went on for approximately four or five hours.

Danilo then took a shower, which is when Cheatom reportedly said he fell, resulting in a cut over his eye. Danilo was then allegedly made to do push-ups again. When he couldn’t do any more calisthenics, Coles allegedly grabbed a belt and beat the boy, who was on the floor “in a fetal position,” per WTFX.

The doctors who treated Danilo reportedly told police that the child’s injuries were not consistent with falling in the shower. Per WTFX, Danilo sustained “severe injuries to his buttocks where the skin was hanging off of the buttocks, internal stomach bleeding, and ‘whipping marks’ on his torso and legs.”

In addition to the physical punishment, Danilo was reportedly ordered to write, “I will obey all people that live in the household,” repeatedly in a notebook.

Coles and Cheatom are both being held in Bexar County Jail on $150,000 bond. Records show they are both scheduled to appear before a judge on March 9.

[image via Bexar County Jail]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.