Couple accused in son's beating death talks

July 17, 2010 8:09:05 AM PDT
It's a case that investigators have called horrific; a six-year-old boy died after police say he was beaten for several hours by his own father. Now, we are hearing from the boy's father and his girlfriend, who are both charged in the case. They talked to Eyewitness News from behind bars. We've been following the story closely since it happened last week.

We heard two very different accounts of the final moments of T.K. Jackson's life. The father is accused of murder and his girlfriend is accused of not doing anything to stop it.

Inside the Harris County Jail, Tammyra Sampson trembled and choked back tears, describing how she and her nine-year-old daughter watched as she says Alex Duncan flew into a rage last weekend inside their apartment east of downtown.

"I says, 'You don't have to hit him. You don't have to hit him like that,'" Sampson said.

Samson tells Eyewitness News Duncan repeatedly punched his six-year-old son, Jackson, in the chest. She says Duncan was furious because the boy wouldn't go to sleep.

The beating, she says, went on for more than eight hours and that it wasn't the first time he'd attacked the child. Sampson claims she tried to put an end to it by swatting the boy with a belt at one point, showing Duncan what she thought to be the proper way to discipline a child.

But Sampson says Duncan wouldn't stop. And she was too afraid he might turn on her to seek any other help.

"I was scared. He would always say, 'What go on in the house, stay in this house,'" she said.

Psychiatrists say an abusive relationship can lead to an overwhelming anxiety.

"It can prevent people from thinking clearly," said Dr. Richard Pesikoff with Baylor College of Medicine. "It can prevent people from responding; people get paralyzed."

Duncan admits he hit his son, but he claims not for eight hours and never with a closed fist. He insists he's being portrayed unfairly.

"... don't make me out like I'm no animal," Duncan said.

Duncan claims the boy died of a seizure, though police say the boy suffered injuries inconsistent with that.

"I'd give my life to my son if I could get my son back," Duncan said.

Police, however, say Duncan confessed to beating Jackson when the child wouldn't go to sleep.

Community Activist Quanell X, who talked with Duncan as well, says Duncan spent more time tonight trying to convince us of his own innocence than discussing how he mourns for his son.

"I was waiting to see tears. I was waiting to see hurt and pain," Quanell X said. "I saw more anger and frustration than hurt and pain."

While we didn't see remorse or grief, Duncan does claim he cries daily over his son's death. He says he is on suicide watch in the jail.


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