Foster parents blame 3-year-old Kyle Smith for his death
Shifrel, Scott. New York Daily News, July 1, 2008.
CORRECTION - A STORY in Tuesday's Daily News incorrectly referred to Nymeen Cheatham and Lemar Martin as the foster parents of Kyle Smith, 3. Cheatham was Kyle's guardian; Martin was her live-in boyfriend.
They actually blame little Kyle for his death.The fiendish foster parents charged in the slaying of 3-year-old Kyle Smith called the abused tyke "a troubled kid" who was "always hurting himself."
Court documents filed Tuesday at the arraignment of Nymeen Cheatham and boyfriend Lamar Martin reveal how savage and cold-hearted their alleged treatment of the boy was.
"He looked pale (and) I didn't know if he was playing a trick because he does that a lot," Cheatham, 31, told cops. "He put on more of a performance...I popped Kyle open hand because he was acting out."
"I didn't do anything wrong," Cheatham continued. - YES, YOU DID
Then she blamed the tiny victim: "Kyle is a troubled kid, he is difficult to handle and is always hurting himself, jumping from bed to bed and throwing himself on the ground."
Cheatham and Martin, 23, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges in the June 6 beating death in their Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment.
Cheatham, who had her own four children taken away in a Texas case, was taking care of the tot after his mother left town.
The statements revealed in court papers were made to cops in their living room and at the precinct house shortly after the battered and beaten child was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.In some instances - as when they repeatedly called Kyle a "troubled child" and admitted throwing cold water on him to make him behave - the statements were chillingly like those given by 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown's parents after she was killed about 15 blocks away in January 2006.
Others appeared to be self-serving and never admit to a fatal blow but they offer the first detailed look at Cheatham and Martin's side of what happened that horrible day.
The family had attended a cousin's funeral the day before and Kyle continued "acting out" when family and friends came over to their Patchen Ave. apartment afterward, the couple said.Cheatham "asked Kyle why he is putting on a show," she told cops. "He was very dramatic, falling out and crying."
That night, he was kicking the bars on his bed and she tried to "calm Kyle down" because Martin had to work in the morning. "I put Kyle in a time out and had him do push-ups," she said, also admitting to hitting him with a hairbrush. "When he was doing push-ups he banged his head a few times and he kept acting out."
"He was very pale. He didn't look right. I took him to the bathroom to run water over him because he didn't like water. I would run water through his hair to sooth him in the past."Martin also admitted that he "popped" the child that morning, made him stand in the corner, march in place and ordered him to do push-ups.
"I popped on his arms and told him to get in push-up position," he told cops. "When Kyle got down in push-up position he (acted) like he is going into another convulsion and started screaming, crying."
At the arraignment, Brooklyn Supreme Court Gustin Reichbach denied bail for both. He ordered the petite Cheatham, who held a Bible in her handcuffed hands and had a blank, puffy-eyed look, kept on suicide watch.