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Father punches accused killer of 3-year-old son in court, video shows

A man accused of killing his girlfriend and her three-year-old son was attacked by the boy’s father, Tonio Hughes, in a Cincinnati court room on June 23. (Video: The Washington Post)
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An Ohio father was found in contempt of court after he stormed to the front of a courtroom Thursday and started pummeling the man accused of murdering his 3-year-old son.

Prosecutors say the defendant, 22-year-old Desean Brown, fatally stabbed his girlfriend Nyteisha Lattimore in December 2020 and tossed 3-year-old Nylo — the son she had with Tonio Hughes — into the Ohio River.

The boy was alive when he was dropped into the water, prosecutors said.

Brown was in court Thursday morning for a pretrial hearing on a motion in the murder case against him.

Surveillance video released by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office captured the moment Hughes charged the defense table, grabbed the defendant from behind and repeatedly punched him in the side of the head. Two sheriff’s deputies then wrestled him to the ground.

Hughes was sentenced to seven days at the Hamilton County Justice Center, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kyla Woods said in a statement to The Washington Post. She said the judge and sheriff’s office “would like to emphasize that this behavior will not be tolerated in the courthouse.”

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Brown was indicted in February 2021 on two counts of aggravated murder, one count of gross abuse of a corpse and one count of tampering with evidence. If he’s found guilty, Brown faces the death penalty.

Prosecutors said Brown killed Lattimore on Dec. 5, 2020, in her apartment. Six days later, he allegedly put her corpse in a body bag he had ordered on eBay and took a ride-hailing service to the river, where he discarded her remains, according to prosecutors.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said that Brown told the driver the body bag contained his clothing.

Prosecutors said sometime between Dec. 5 and 12, 2020, Brown threw Nylo into the river, killing him. Authorities never recovered the boy’s body — only a stroller and a Paw Patrol blanket with his blood on it, prosecutors said.

“He chose to kill Nylo in an incredibly barbaric method,” Deters told reporters after the indictment last year. “I still have nightmares about this. It’s a gruesome case. I cannot even imagine what that little boy was going through.”

“He died a miserable death,” Deters added.

When asked about a possible motive in the case, Deters said Brown had been planning to kill his girlfriend for months. He noted at the time that there had been some relationship issues but emphasized there was “no good excuse for this.” It wasn’t until earlier this month that a possible motive was revealed. A Cincinnati police detective told a judge on June 17 that Lattimore, 29, had been pregnant with her and Brown’s baby but she miscarried, but Brown thought she had killed his child and wanted revenge, according to ABC affiliate WCPO-TV.

One attorney listed for Brown, Timothy McKenna, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday. Another attorney listed for Brown, Scott Rubenstein, declined to comment.

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Following Thursday’s outburst in court, Faith Burton, a family friend of Hughes, told Fox’s WXIX-TV that Hughes has been in agony since his son’s death.

“The pain and everything took over and he did what I think any of us would do,” Burton told the news station Thursday.

“I couldn’t live without my child either, so I get it,” she added. “I get his emotions. I get why he acted out in court today.”

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