ST. LOUIS – Charges have been filed against the mother and step-father of a 23-month-old girl who died early Tuesday morning after she was beaten.
Deonte L. Evans, 23, is charged with second-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action, and two counts of abuse/neglect of a child.
Shanika M. Evans, 23, is charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
According to court documents, on Feb. 9 Deonte Evans hit the Jabria Phillips after she climbed on a counter to "steal" a piece of cake. He told detectives he hit her with the palm of his hand and his backhand in her torso. The girl lost her appetite and became lethargic after the beating.
The following day, Shanika Evans said she noticed the girl did not have an appetite, vomited, and could not get out of bed.
Phillips was taken to St. Louis Children's Hospital around 3:30 a.m. Thursday, and was pronounced dead around 5:15 a.m. A medical examiner ruled the cause of death blunt force trauma to her torso, causing mortal injuries to various internal organs.
The medical examiner also told police seven of the girl's ribs were healing from factures that appeared to be two or three weeks old.
Deonte Evans then told police he hit the girl with a "swift and powerful open-handed upper cut to her torso" a few weeks ago. He is held on a $500,000 cash-only bond.
Shanika Evans is held on a $50,000 cash-only bond.