An Inglewood man on Wednesday was charged with murder in the fatal beating of a 2-year-old boy outside a liquor store in Long Beach last summer, prosecutors said.
Charles Davis, 32, also faces an assault charge in the death of William Meeks III, who was found unconscious after being left alone with the defendant in a car parked outside Big John’s Liquor at 10th Street and Daisy Avenue, according to the Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The toddler was hospitalized June 14 in full cardiac arrest and died two days later.
Although police responded to the hospital for a report for possible child abuse, they initially determined Meeks suffered a medical emergency. But when an autopsy report released this month showed Meeks died of blunt force trauma to the head, detectives began investigating the death as a homicide.
Davis knew the boy’s mother, said Greg Risling, a spokesman for the DA’s office. Risling said he could not provide further details on their relationship, but police previously said they were believed to be acquaintances.
Prosecutors say paramedics took Meeks to the hospital after responding to a 911 call outside the liquor store, where a group including the victim’s mother had congregated. When authorities arrived, a bystander was holding the child and trying to revive him, police said.
The DA’s office believes Davis inflicted injuries that resulted in the toddler’s death, but they haven’t provided specifics on the nature of the assault.
Davis was arrested in the case Sunday and scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday. Inmate records show he remained in custody Wednesday on $2 million bail.