Investigators arrested a woman’s boyfriend Wednesday on a capital murder charge after the death of her 8-month-old baby, Decatur police said.
Police said Orlandos Zeonette Deloney, 21, kicked the child, then made a 911 call Tuesday morning claiming the baby fell off a bed.
The mother left the baby, Kobe K. Coffee, in Deloney’s care at her 208 Gordon Drive S.W. home while she took another child to the hospital for biting his tongue in an unrelated incident, investigators said.
Violent Crimes Unit Sgt. George Silvestri said Deloney called 911 shortly before 4 a.m. and reported that the baby wasn’t breathing.
Decatur Fire and Rescue and EMTs arrived to find the baby’s uncle, who had been asleep downstairs in another part of the house, performing CPR, Silvestri said.
Relatives said the uncle, John Wilson, had Kobe breathing again.
“He tried his best to save the baby,” said Nanette Chester.
An ambulance rushed the child to Decatur Morgan Hospital Decatur General Campus, where he was pronounced dead.
Relatives said Kobe’s mother, Sonja Chester, was stricken with grief.
“Everybody’s sad,” said Nanette Chester, her cousin. “It was so senseless, and there was no need for anything like that to happen. It’s still a shock to everybody.”
Silvestri said Deloney injured Kobe by kicking him, but he did not go into further detail.
“What can a person do that is frustrating enough at that age to provoke you to kill them?” Nanette Chester said.
Nanette Chester and Janice Coffee, an aunt, said some family members felt uncomfortable the last two days as they waited to find out what happened. “The whole family is glad that the truth is out,” Nanette Chester said. “We’re grateful to know the answers, because we all had questions. He acted like he was grief-stricken.”
Chester said she believes Deloney, who was not the baby’s father, was capable of the crime.
“I’ve heard of several incidents of violent streaks with him,” she said.
The whole family doted on Kobe, a smiling, happy child who was the youngest of five, relatives said.
“You talked to him, and he would just smile. He was just a good baby. He didn’t cry. If he cried, you just talked to him, and he would start smiling,” Coffee said.
The child’s body was taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science laboratory in Huntsville for an autopsy — standard procedure whenever a child dies as a result of injuries sustained at home, Silvestri said.
Initial autopsy results determined that the injuries were not accidental, and a forensic pathologist ruled the death a homicide.
“That’s just preliminary info from forensics, so I don’t have any details yet,” Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn said.
Under state law, a murder involving a victim under 14 qualifies as capital murder.
Deloney was booked into Decatur City Jail to be transferred to Morgan County Jail.
Bail had not been set.
Funeral for Kobe will be noon Saturday at Sharpley Funeral Home with visitation one hour prior to the service.
Seth Burkett can be reached at 256-340-2446 or sbur firstname.lastname@example.org.