Stackhouse had originally told police that his 5-year-old son was playing with one of his siblings in his home when he fell down the stairs in June 2019. Eventually, prosecutors say, he would admit punching the child in the stomach because the boy had eaten a piece of Stackhouse’s Father’s Day cheesecake.
The father also admitted using the back of this hand, which had a metal rod inside it, to hit his son in the face, authorities said.
Stackhouse’s defense attorney, Russell Jones confirmed Saturday that the defendant’s guilty plea was part of a negotiation that took the charges from first-degree reckless homicide to second-degree reckless homicide.
Under Wisconsin law, Stackhouse faces up to 37 years in prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 29.
Stackhouse’s guilty plea is the latest development in a case that traces to the early-morning hours of June 22, 2019. According to the criminal complaint obtained by The Washington Post, police officers responded to a 911 call where they found members of the Milwaukee Fire Department performing CPR on Sir Amer.
Court documents show Stackhouse first told police that the 5-year-old boy fell down a stairwell on June 21, 2019, but said he was fine. After a while, Stackhouse said the boy told him “his tummy hurt,” and soon vomited before lying down to watch cartoons. Later on, Stackhouse said, he found three of his children, including Sir Amer, eating the cheesecake he had received for Father’s Day earlier in the week, which infuriated him, according to the complaint.
After beating Sir Amer, Stackhouse went out to a bar with friends. When he returned home around 2 a.m., his girlfriend told him “something was wrong” with his son and called 911.
At the time, Stackhouse denied physically assaulting the children, according to the initial police reports.
The boy was pronounced dead on the scene.
The complaint also noted that paramedics observed that the boy had severe bruising to his eyes, a cut on his lower lip and a lacerated sternum, which were not consistent with the fall reported by Stackhouse. In an interview with police detectives, Sir Amer’s 6-year-old brother denied that Sir Amer had fallen down the stairs and said he saw his father strike Sir Amer in the stomach and back “with a closed fist,” according to the complaint.
Stackhouse said that he lived at the home with his girlfriend and their five children and that he was the main caretaker for all five children. He did not, however, know the dates of birth of any of his five children, nor was he able to spell their names, authorities said.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Sir Amer had suffered a “ruptured stomach, bruised kidneys, and a torn adrenal gland,” according to court documents.
Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Douglas Kelley concluded in the autopsy that the cause of the boy’s death was “blunt force trauma to the abdomen,” classifying the manner of death as homicide.
The police arrested Stackhouse later on June 22, 2019, and confronted him with the child’s statements. He then admitted punching his son because he had eaten the cheesecake, authorities said. Stackhouse said he had eaten only one piece of the cake and was upset that others were eating it.
He also admitted that his girlfriend had warned him several times to “not hit the children so hard,” the complaint stated.
Jones also confirmed to The Post that Stackhouse had struck his son with a deadly blow that caused the stomach to burst, leading to his death. But the defense attorney denied that the attack was related to the cheesecake, arguing that the motive “was never discovered” in court.
Milwaukee County Deputy District Attorney Matthew Torbenson told The Post that the victim’s 6-year-old brother was originally set to be called as a witness in court this week, but Stackhouse’s defense asked the prosecution instead to play a videotaped interview with investigators.
After the prosecutors introduced Stackhouse’s recorded confession to fatally punching his son, the defendant asked his attorney to speak to his mother who was in the court’s gallery. Torbenson added that Stackhouse then agreed to plead guilty to the reduced charge.