Four boys, ages 4 to 13, beat to death a deaf and retarded 6-year-old on a playground because he was "different," police said.

Torrence Davis was beaten for about two hours Nov. 26 after he tried to defend himself against boys taunting him about his handicaps, Police Lt. Jerry Winebrenner said. The four have admitted the beating and will be charged as juveniles with manslaughter, Winebrenner said.

Torrence's mother, Florence Ellison, had dropped the child off at a recreation center. "He acted a little different than the other kids," Winebrenner said. "He couldn't hear. He couldn't talk. I think it was just one of those things. You know how kids are, they can be pretty cruel without meaning to be," he said.

Torrence, Winebrenner said, first was forced to fight the youngest of his taunters, a 4-year-old. The other boys, aged 9, 10 and 13, joined in later.

Davis was kicked in the stomach and lower back, police said. An autopsy showed extensive injuries to the boy's heart and liver.

When Davis went home, he ate dinner and then began to vomit. His mother put him to bed.

The next morning he was found dead in his bed. The mother gave police a list of boys who played at the playground, and interviews by detectives eventually led to the boys who will be charged, police said.