When the toddler was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center, he was pronounced dead. The three eldest children— aged 11, 9 and 7 — were interviewed by police and told officers that after breakfast, Hounkpatin took their 3-year-old brother and 2-year-old brother into a bedroom, authorities said. The older children heard hitting noises and crying, followed by silence, they told police. After, Hounkpatin put the 2-year-old in a bed, and the toddler appeared to be asleep, the children told police. The oldest sister tried to wake the 2-year-old 10 to 15 minutes later, but when he wouldn’t wake, they called 911, they told police.
The children told police they had previously seen Hounkpatin physically abuse the 2-year-old and 3-year-old. That abuse included Hounkpatin squeezing the 3-year-old “around the chest to the point that his voice was hoarse” because the 3-year-old was sucking his thumb, the 11-year-old told police. She also told officers that she had protected one of her younger brothers from being hit by Hounkpatin and that she was afraid to go to school because Hounkpatin would be alone with her brothers.
An autopsy showed that the 2-year-old had rib fractures on his back and sides, including recent injuries and ones that were older and in the process of healing. Those injuries were consistent with being squeezed around the chest, the DA’s office said. The child died from asphyxiation due to chest compression, according to the Gwinnett County medical examiner.
Hounkpatin denied ever physically abusing the children and said he took the children into the room on the day of the 2-year-old’s death in order to tell them to be quiet, authorities said.
Hounkpatin will be sentenced on Aug. 22. The only options are life in prison without parole or life in prison with the possibility of parole.