WEST PALM BEACH — A 29-year-old woman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder this morning in the beating death of a 3-year-old boy.
Tia Danae Roundtree of South Bay faces between 21 and 40 years in prison when she's sentenced Dec. 11, said her attorney, Assistant Public Defender Travis Dunnington. Prosecutors had earlier filed a notice they intended to seek the death penalty. The child, Kelvin Jackson, had a fractured skull, a bruised scalp and his body were covered with impressions from the decorative circles on Roundtree's white belt, according to a court record.
Roundtree told detectives she had "whooped" Kelvin, who was her boyfriend's son, and may have hit too hard, but that she didn't think he would be badly injured. She told them she repeatedly hit Kelvin with the belt and her hand before putting him and her own then-3 year-old son down for a nap that day in 2007.
Attorney Dunnington said Roundtree had no prior criminal record and by all accounts was wonderful single mother to her own child. She had worked overtime in Texas as a factory supervisor to provide for him.
"There were no indications of any prior abuse before this, " Dunnington said.