Mass. man charged with murder in son’s beating
WORCESTER, Mass. — A man accused of beating his 7-year-old son to death of Father’s Day was charged Tuesday with murder and was ordered held without bail.
Leslie Schuler, 36, is accused of repeatedly beating Nathaniel Turner, culminating in a brutal assault on June 21, when he’s alleged to have slammed the boy’s head into a wall so hard it left a dent.
The boy was declared brain dead two days later.
Schuler, of Worcester, originally was charged with multiple counts of assault, but a murder charge was added when the boy died on Saturday after being removed from a hospital ventilator.
A not guilty plea was entered on Schuler’s behalf during his arraignment in Central District Court.
The boy’s mother, Alicia Turner, sobbed as she watched the arraignment from the front row of the courtroom with relatives including Christine Taylor, the boy’s maternal grandmother. The boy had lived with his grandmother most of his life in Eufaula, Ala., but had moved to Worcester, the second-largest city in New England, around Memorial Day to stay with his father for the summer.
The boy’s mother and grandmother have said Schuler pleaded with them to be a part of his son’s life.
Schuler looked down during the brief hearing and did not make eye contact with his son’s family. Police have said he told them he hit his son to discipline him.
District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said the state medical examiner’s office is expected to determine the boy’s cause of death within the next two weeks.
Schuler had been held on $250,000 bail on the assault charges, but Judge Steven Thomas revoked his bail Tuesday after he was arraigned on the murder charge. He’s due back in court July 29.
Schuler’s girlfriend, Tiffany Hyman, has been charged with assault and battery. Police said it appears Hyman did not strike the boy but could have intervened and stopped the abuse.
Hyman has pleaded not guilty to assault and battery charges.