Man killed 2-year-old after grocery fight, told kid ‘put up your hands’ and fight, cops say
PENNSAUKEN — Prosecutors say a New Jersey man accused of fatally beating his girlfriend's toddler son told the boy to "put up his hands" to fight while the couple argued over groceries.
Zachary Tricoche was arraigned Tuesday on murder charges but didn't enter a plea. His bail was set at $1 million cash.
Camden County prosecutors say the beating occurred Saturday night at a Pennsauken home. They said Tricoche and the woman started arguing because he didn't like the groceries she bought.
Authorities say the boy became upset when Tricoche pushed his mother. He then allegedly punched the boy twice in the torso and the child hit his head on the wall, knocking him out.
Prosecutors say the boy died from blunt force abdominal trauma. A report by the Courier-Post identified the boy as Jamil Baskerville Jr.
That report also cites a 911 call authorities released this week that had prompted police to come to the 5900 block of Mansion Avenue around 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
"My boyfriend is, like, trying to get him to wake up," the mother said. Her name has not been released. She said the boy's chest was turning color."
"He has vomit coming out his nose and mouth," the mother said on the call. "Can you please hurry up?"
Tricoche told the judge he had a public defender, but the lawyer wasn't with him at the arraignment.
The child's death comes nearly two months after Michael Disporto, 22, of Manahawkin, was arrested and charged with the sexual assault and murder of 2-year-old baby Ariana of Gloucester City. Disporto is the boyfriend of Ariana's mother, Amber Bobo, 26, according to authorities.
Bobo, 26, was charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child. Authorities say after Disporto raped the baby — causing injuries that led to her death — he repeatedly talked Bobo out of seeking medical help for fear they'd be blamed for the injuries.
The baby in that earlier case, Ariana Smyth, is seen below in images provided by other family members:
Reporting by the Associated Press and Townsquare staff