Prosecutor: Beating death of child in Pennsauken followed fight over groceries

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. (WPVI) -- Bail has been set at $1 million for a man accused of fatally beating his girlfriend's toddler son.

Zachary Tricoche, 24, was bound over for trial at his arraignment Tuesday on first-degree murder charges in the beating death of 2-year-old Jamil Baskerville, Jr.

In court on Tuesday, prosecutors alleged the beating followed a fight between Tricoche and the boy's mother. He was upset, prosecutors said, because she bought the wrong groceries.

Tricoche pushed his girlfriend to the ground, investigators say, then unleashed his rage on the child.

Camden County assistant prosecutor Christine Shah struggled to keep her emotions in check as she described what Tricoche is accused of doing.

"According to JB's mother, the defendant then punched JB in the chest, and punched him hard. So hard, in fact, he went back against the wall and struck the back of his head. When he got up, Tricoche punched him again, a second time, causing him to again hit his head against a wall, rendering him unconscious," she said.

Jamil suffered severe wounds to his chest and back as a result of the beating. Prosecutors also say his liver was lacerated and he essentially bled to death internally.

Outside court the toddler's grandfather, Jerome DeShields, did not hold back when asked about the boy's death.

"My grandson was two years old. Innocent. Didn't do nothing. Now he can't his life, but (Tricoche) gets to live the rest of his life in prison. It should be the death penalty. You kill somebody, you should be killed," he said.

Officers were called to the 5900 block of Mansion Boulevard around 11:30 p.m. Saturday for a report of an unresponsive child.

Police released audio from the 911 call:

Mother: My boyfriend is like trying to get him to wake up.Dispatcher: Can you see if his chest is rising and falling? Can you feel if he's breathing?Mother: He has bruises on his chest.

Medics rushed the child to Cooper University Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries shortly after 12 a.m. Sunday.