City man charged with striking 2-year-old son with belt
Published 8:13 am Tuesday, April 12, 2016
A city man faces a felony child abuse charge after police say he struck his two year-old child with a belt on Sunday.
Officers of the Elizabethton Police Department arrested Jerry Lee Miller Jr., 28, of 120 Mountain Hollow Court, Apt. D-4, and charged him with aggravated child abuse.
Shortly after 11 p.m. on Sunday, officers with the EPD were dispatched to Apartment D-4 at 120 Mountain Hollow Court after a 911 caller reported possible child abuse at the home.
When EPD Officer Kenneth Lowe arrived on scene, he said he spoke with Miller and his girlfriend, identified as Susie Peterson, and told them why he was at their home. Lowe said he asked Miller about the disturbance that led to the 911 call.
“Mr. Miller said his two-year-old son (name withheld), was coloring on the wall,” Lowe said. “Mr. Miller said he disciplined (his son) for coloring on the wall by hitting him on his bottom.”
Miller told the officer after he disciplined his son the child then began “laughing at him” and urinating in the floor. Miller said he then disciplined his son by striking him with a belt.
“I observed multiple red welts on (the child’s) legs, back, buttock and right arm,” Lowe said. “I also noticed scratches on his chest and arms, and his genital area was reddish in color.”
“I asked Mr. Miller why he used a belt. Mr. Miller said he had to ‘step it up a notch,’” Lowe added.
Lowe said he located the belt lying on the living room table in the apartment.
“I then spoke to Ms. Peterson who advised she attempted to stop Mr. Miller from hitting (her son) with the belt, but he pushed her away and hit her with the belt, then continued to hit (the child),” Lowe said.
Lowe said he requested to have Child Protective Services respond to the home and he placed Miller under arrest.
On Monday morning, Miller appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court.
Miller told Judge Keith Bowers Jr. that he wanted to hire a private attorney to represent him in the case. Bowers set Miller’s bond at $2,000 and scheduled him to return to General Sessions Court on May 24. Miller was released from jail following his court appearance after posting the $2,000 bond.