Jack Junior Montgomery was arrested after a warrant was issued for the murder of his stepson. Authorities stated that Montgomery beat Brice Russel, 7, to death while Russel’s mother was at work.
In the warrant issued for Montgomery’s arrest, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office asserted that on Friday, December 21st, Montgomery began beating Brice as a punishment for sneaking out of bed and eating a cookie after his bedtime. When Brice’s siblings woke up to Montgomery beating him, they were threatened by Montgomery, even cajoled into joining in on their sibling’s “punishment”.
Montgomery allegedly hit Brice in the mouth, face, and stomach, causing Brice’s brain to bleed. He said that by playfully throwing Brice into bed with the other children, he didn’t mean to hurt him – stating that the beating was “only in fun” and not meant to inflict pain. However, a guest at the Seffner Masters Inn, where the family lived, overheard an adult man yelling to “beat the kid” and “push the kid over here” the night of Brice’s death.
According to the State Attorney’s Office, Brice would have died within seconds or minutes after the injury. One of Brice’s siblings even struck him out of fear for his own life. Montgomery claimed that Brice exhibited no signs of harm before going to bed with his siblings. Brice’s mother, Donya Shenita Russell, was working an overnight shift at the time.
After Montgomery stopped assaulting Brice, authorities allege that his siblings were forced to sleep with his body in their bed until the next morning. When Brice wouldn’t wake up, Montgomery attempted to wake him by pouring water over his head and slapping his face.
The next morning, Montgomery allegedly called 911 and claimed his stepson was unconscious and would not wake up, but when police arrived, they found Brice lying dead in his bedroom.
Assistant State Attorney Matthew Smith told a judge on Monday that “[Montgomery] chose to not only physically discipline this child himself, by not only repeatedly punching and throwing him on the ground but threatening bodily harm” to Brice’s siblings if they did not partake, according to WKRG.
Montgomery, 31, has been charged with first degree felony murder and three counts of aggravated child abuse. He has been assigned a public defender but not yet entered a plea deal. A guilty verdict for first degree felony murder carries the possibility of a death sentence in the state of Florida.