A man is facing charges of first-degree murder and 'child endangerment resulting in death' in the killing of a two-year-old boy he allegedly sat on for taking the man's cell phone.
Investigators say 31-year-old Larry Darnell Murphy is accused of sitting on Oakland Oburu, causing his asphyxiation. Murphy is being held on a $1,025,000 bond.
According to the boy’s mother, whose name has not been released to the public, “Murphy was staying with her and her sons at a Council Bluffs, Iowa motel when he became angry at the two-year-old for taking his cellphone.
"She says he sat on the boy for around 20 seconds on a motel bed.”
According to a criminal complaint filed by Council Bluffs police, “Murphy, who was dating the child's mother, had been living with 2-year-old Oburu and his brother and mother at the American Inn motel…for the past six weeks."
According to the Press-Citizen, “Authorities spoke with the boy's mother and learned that Murphy was the children's primary disciplinarian because the mother has cerebral palsy."
The complaint reads that the boy took Murphy’s cell phone and, to punish him, Murphy sat on the boy “for about 20 seconds” on the motel bed.
The mother reports hearing the boy moan, and then become quiet. Murphy allegedly covered the boy with the bed covers and left the room to pay the rent.
Because of her physical limitations, the mother says she could not check on Oakland when she heard him begin to wheeze.
When Murphy returned 20 minutes later, he checked on the boy who did not appear to be breathing. At that time, Murphy allegedly phoned his sister and, after she drove from her home in Nebraska, the two of them drove the toddler to a hospital.
"During the examination at the hospital, it appeared that (the victim) had no obvious trauma to him or any large wounds," the complaint states.
"(The doctor) did notice that O.O. had subconjunctival hemorrhage [broken blood vessels] in both eyes which is a possible sign from being asphyxiated.”
The Press-Citizen attempted to reach Murphy’s attorney for a statement. “A call to Joseph Barrett Reedy, the public defender assigned to Murphy's case, was not immediately returned.”
Murphy is reportedly six feet tall and weighs 160 pounds. The weight of the man may have kept the boy from turning his head to breathe. Investigators are not saying the exact manner of death except to say that it was likely from asphyxiation (lack of oxygen).
They did not explain why only 20 seconds without breathing ended up causing the boys death. the investigation into the tragedy is ongoing. Murphy is next due in court at 9:30 a.m. Monday, March 25th.