QUEENSBURY -- A Warren County grand jury has charged a Glens Falls man with murder in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son and has filed two felonies against the mother as well.
Brandon M. Warrington, 24, faces felony charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter as well as a misdemeanor count of endangering a welfare of a child, according to court records.
Jennie M. Mattison, 23, was charged with felony counts of first-degree reckless endangerment and hindering prosecution and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child. She was the mother of victim Gary Carpenter III.
Both pleaded not guilty during arraignments before Warren County Judge John Hall on Tuesday morning and were returned to Warren County Jail. No new court dates were set.
During the arraignment, a prosecutor graphically outlined numerous serious injuries that occurred to the boy in the days before his death, which included an apparent sexual assault.
“This was an innocent 5-year-old boy who was brutally abused by the very people who were supposed to protect him,” Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said.
Authorities said the physical abuse happened on Thursday, but the indictment alleges the injuries occurred over a two-day period Wednesday and Thursday.
The murder count does not accuse Warrington of intentionally killing the boy, but alleges he acted recklessly and with “depraved indifference to human life.” He is accused of causing a fatal head injury.
Police videotaped more than 5 hours of questioning of Warrington, and the video was filed with the court on Tuesday
During the questioning, he told Glens Falls Police Detective Sgt. Peter Casertino and State Police Investigator Warren Law that he disciplined Carpenter after the boy slapped his face the night before. He said he pushed the boy several times, knocking him to a linoleum floor once and into a bedroom wall twice.
At one point, he used the word “rage” to describe his reaction, but repeatedly said he did not mean to hurt the boy.
“It was an accident,” he said. “The kid pissed me off.”
He repeatedly denied sexually assaulting the boy.
Mattison’s questioning Warren County sheriff’s Investigators Mo Aldrich and Russ Lail was also videorecorded, amounting to more than 4 hours.
She told police there was a dent in the wall near Carpenter’s bed, which she believed was put there by the boy’s head.
She wept through much of the interview, at first minimizing her knowledge of the incidents and saying she didn’t witness Warrington hurt the boy.
Later she said she heard incidents where Warrington seemed to be hitting the boy in another room of their apartment, and saw Warrington slam the boy to the floor at one point. But she said she did not see Carpenter hit his head.
“I didn’t see it, I just heard it,” she said. “I asked him what happened and he said he didn’t know what happened.”
Later during the questioning, police urged Warrington to write a letter to Mattison as the two were being questioned Thursday, before Carpenter died.
“I never meant for any of this to happen,” he wrote. “I love that lil boy. I hope he is going to be OK.”
In Mattison’s letter back to him, she wrote that she had “told you that you can not correct him like (a) teenager or adult.”
“I don’t believe you intentionally did it but you really should have let me deal with him when you got upset,” she wrote, according to court records. “I really wish you would have let me deal with Gary then this wouldn’t have happened.”
During Mattison’s arraignment Tuesday morning, Warren County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Donlon outlined a horrific list of injuries the child suffered before his death, including a fractured skull, injuries to the genitals, rectum and neck and bruises to his arms consistent with restraints being placed on them.
The boy’s body temperature was 86 degrees and his lips were blue when he was brought to Glens Falls Hospital, Donlon said.
The couple put the boy in a shower and put vinegar under his nose to try to wake him up before 911 was called, according to court records.
His lips were blue when he was brought to the hospital, Donlon said.
“There were multiple injuries in all different stages of healing,” he said.
Hogan said the injuries that appeared related to a sexual assault were believed to be “fresh” injuries.
Mattison is accused of endangering the child by failing to promptly seek medical help for the boy; police believe she waited for 30 to 45 minutes after Warrington left their home Thursday morning before she sought medical help.
The hindering prosecution count accuses her of lying to police about how Carpenter was hurt.
She initially told police that Carpenter apparently got hurt jumping on his bed, but later changed her story.
Carpenter was hospitalized Thursday with a serious head injury, and died late Friday night at Albany Medical Center.
Warrington was charged by police last week with felony counts of first-degree assault and first-degree reckless endangerment for allegedly injuring the boy, charges that were filed before his death. The indictment supersedes those charges.
Warrington is being represented by the Warren County Public Defender’s Office, and Public Defender John Wappett said he had no comment on the case Tuesday morning.
Second-degree murder is punishable by up to 25-years-to-life in state prison and felony reckless endangerment can bring a prison sentence of up to 7 years for Mattison. Hindering prosecution is punishable by up to 4 years in prison.
Mattison is being represented by Tucker Stanclift, who said he did not believe the reckless endangerment count was warranted and said case law has affected the viability of that charge in recent years.
“To suggest she has depraved indifference to her own child is absurd,” Stanclift said.
Billie Jo Rivers, a great aunt of the toddler, attended the arraignments and cursed Warrington as he left court. After the hearing, she said relatives of the boy suspected Warrington had been abusing the boy for a while and had made child abuse complaints about the situation numerous times in the past.
“There were multiple complaints about this, not just one,” Rivers said.
The Post-Star detailed prior child protective services and police investigations involving the family in an article in Tuesday’s paper.
Officials acknowledged Monday that Warrington was the subject of at least one child abuse complaint regarding Carpenter in the months before the boy’s death, but the boy remained in the couple’s custody.
Mattison gave birth to another son three weeks ago, and that child was in the custody of the Warren County Department of Social Services as of Tuesday.