An Atlanta woman was sentenced to life for fatally beating a 3-year-old boy with a baseball bat for eating a cupcake.
LaShirley Morris pleaded guilty on December 11, 2019 for the murder of KeJuan Mason. He was found fatally beaten in a “roach-infested” southwest Atlanta, Georgia. home with bruises throughout his body in October 2017.
In 2017, KeJuan and his twin brother were living in Glenndria’s apartment under her care after their biological mother was arrested last year for reckless conduct. Records from child services indicate that Geraldine Mason abused her children and had “extreme temper issues.”
So when she was released from jail, the two young boys stayed with Glenndria, who was their legal guardian and godmother.
Geraldine Mason was allowed to visit her sons and noticed that they had cuts and bruises. The sisters told police that those injuries were from the boys horsing around, but she didn’t believe them.
She asked a Fulton County Judge to remove the children from the home, but the request was denied. Three days later, Kejuan Mason was beaten to death.
When LaShirley was initially questioned, her sister, Glenndria Morris, changed her story several times. She first claimed KeJuan choked on a cupcake and first responders took too long to get to their apartment.
Later, she said that KeJuan began choking on a cupcake, but was “fine breathing and talking later,” so she put him down for a nap. When she tried to wake him up later, he didn’t respond.
An autopsy found that the child had died from blunt force trauma. He had bruises on his legs, back, chest, buttocks, arm and head.
“She told me out of her mouth before I got the autopsy back that he had been beaten about the cupcake,” KeJuan’s grandmother, Xavier Upshaw, said during a 2018 bond hearing for Glenndria Morris. “I have five grandbabies. I had six. It is unfair. He was 3 years old. What can a baby do, 3 years old, to make you beat him to death?
KeJuan succumbed to his injuries at a hospital on October 21, 2017.
In addition to murder, LaShirley Morris pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault and cruelty to children in KeJuan’s death.
LaShirley Morris was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Prosecutors said that LaShirley non-negotiated plea deal.
The case against Glenndria Morris, who was charged for not stopping the fatal beating, is still pending. She’s facing charges of murder, aggravated assault and cruelty to children in KeJuan’s death.