A Florida man has been charged with murder after he allegedly beat his stepson to death and made the boy’s brothers sleep beside the child’s dead body, according to multiple reports.
Jack Junior Montgomery is charged with felony first degree murder in the Dec. 31 death of Brice Russell, 7, according to a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office news release obtained by PEOPLE.
On Saturday morning, Montgomery allegedly called 911 to report that his stepson would not wake up, according to the news release. When investigators arrived at the family’s room at a local motel, they found Brice lying on a bed, and he was pronounced dead minutes later, the news release states.
During their investigation, authorities learned that Brice had allegedly been beaten to death by his stepfather, who was watching the children while their mother worked through the night, according to the news release.
In an arrest warrant, deputies wrote that Montgomery allegedly said he punished the child for sneaking out of bed and getting a cookie, CBS News reports.
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The news release alleges that when Brice’s three siblings woke up to see Brice being beaten, Montgomery threatened them with the same punishment and told them to “join in” and strike their sibling.
“While she was out working he chose to not only physically discipline this child himself, by not only repeatedly punching and throwing him on the ground but threatening bodily harm” to the boy’s siblings if they did not partake, Assistant State Attorney Matthew Smith alleged to a judge in court on Monday, WKRG reports.
Investigators allege Montgomery punched Brice in the face, mouth and stomach, threw him across the room and shoved his face into the carpet. The release alleges that the beating caused Brice’s brain to bleed.
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One child did strike Brice because he was scared for his life, deputies allege. When the beating was over, Montgomery put the child’s body into bed. He then allegedly forced Brice’s siblings to sleep next to his body until the next morning, WKRG reports.
Montgomery has not entered a plea and has been assigned a public defender, according to CBS News, but PEOPLE was not immediately able to contact his attorney.