A 31-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Adonis Reed, a 4-year-old boy found alone inside a Long Island apartment last week.
At his arraignment Saturday, prosecutors said Jonathan Thompson had been babysitting Adonis when he punched the child twice in the abdomen after the boy refused to take a nap. Thompson, who pleaded not guilty, kept his head down and remained quiet.
Two-dozen people who identified themselves as friends and family of the 4-year-old packed the courtroom and screamed threats and curses at Thompson as he was remanded into custody without bail.
Adonis was found unconscious on a couch in an apartment in a private house on a quiet Amityville street on Wednesday afternoon. Thompson allegedly called 911 and fled the apartment before authorities arrived. Adonis was pronounced dead at a hospital, and his death was classified as a homicide.
The medical examiner's report showed multiple lacerations on the child's liver, prosecutors said.
Authorities say Thompson is the boyfriend of the child's guardian and godmother. His home address is the same as the residence where the boy was found. He was arrested in Brooklyn Friday with the help of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Thompson's prior criminal record includes convictions for robbery, grand larceny and identity theft.
Adonis' aunt, Leshawn Reed, said the boy was in the care of his godmother because his biological mother was homeless.
Neighbor Eric Erath told reporters on Thursday that he used to see the little boy and his 6-year-old sister occasionally playing around the house, but he couldn't recall the last time. "Every time I used to see them, they were both very cheerful," said Erath, who lives next door.
He said he never saw any signs of abuse. "I do not believe anything like that happened," he said.
The boy's sister was in the custody of county child welfare officials, police said. It wasn't clear if the children lived at the apartment.