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law enforcement:

Mother, stepfather arrested in beating death of 7-year-old

Facebook posts depict a loving, religious family environment

Updated Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 | 12:53 p.m.

7-year-old dies a victim of child abuse

Roderick Arrington was beaten to death by his parents in late November 2012 after he failed to read the Bible and do his homework, according to Metro Police.

Sun coverage

Roderick "RJ" Arrington

Roderick "RJ" Arrington

Click to enlarge photo

Dina and Markiece Palmer are shown in a photo from the Facebook page of Dina Palmer.

Dina Palmer's booking photo

Dina Palmer's booking photo

Markiece Palmer booking photo

Markiece Palmer booking photo

A 7-year-old boy was beaten to death by his parents last week after he failed to read the Bible and do his homework, according to Metro Police.

The boy's stepfather, Markiece Palmer, 34, and the boy's mother, Dina Palmer, 27, were arrested and charged with murder, child abuse and neglect in the beating death of Roderick Arrington, a second-grader at Roundy Elementary School. A hearing on the murder charges is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Thursday in Las Vegas Township Justice Court.

On Thursday, Arrington was transported to University Medical Center because he was unresponsive, according to an arrest report released Monday. The arrest report said officers were called to the hospital after medical officials observed severe bruising and massive brain swelling, but a news release issued Tuesday said officers were called at 8:45 a.m. Thursday to a residence in the 3100 block of South Decatur Boulevard to check on an unresponsive 7-year-old with significant injuries.

Arrington was admitted to the UMC's pediatric intensive care unit in critical condition. A doctor reported that Arrington suffered from strokes and fixed pupils and had bruises on the arms, abdomen, back, legs, thighs and buttocks.

"The buttocks had fresh open wounds that appeared to be from being whipped," the report said, adding that some of the bruises had left some tissue dead.

Arrington had surgery but died sometime after he was admitted to the hospital. Metro, in its news release Tuesday, said the boy died Friday.

Upon interviewing the Palmers, police uncovered the following, according to the arrest report:

About two to three months ago, Arrington moved to Las Vegas from Bloomington, Ill., where he lived with his natural father and maternal grandmother. This was the first time Markiece Palmer, the boy's stepfather, met Arrington, whom he described as an "outgoing, favorable and a good kid."

Markiece Palmer initially stated that he spanked Arrington twice, police said.

The first time was about one month after Arrington moved to Las Vegas, and it was for lying, the stepfather told police. The second time was Nov. 28, when Arrington allegedly told his stepfather that he hated him and that he was not his father.

However, over the course of the interview, Markiece Palmer admitted to police that he hit Arrington on multiple occasions using various household items such as his belt, a spatula and wooden paddle, as well as with his hands.

Prior to each beating, Markiece Palmer said he talked with Arrington's natural mother, Dina Palmer. Although she initially denied her role in the beatings, the mother was present and participated in each beating, Markiece Palmer told police.

Last Tuesday, Markiece Palmer admitted to police that he spanked Arrington because he allegedly lied about reading a chapter in the Bible. Dina Palmer struck Arrington on his buttocks with both a belt and her hand, the report said.

The next day at about 9:30 p.m., Markiece Palmer found Arrington asleep in bed without finishing his homework. Arrington allegedly lied about doing his homework, so Palmer said he struck Arrington on his buttocks with his belt, the report said.

Arrington then allegedly ran up to his stepfather with balled fists. Markiece Palmer — who is 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs 150 pounds — then grabbed the boy by his arms and shook him hard. Dina Palmer said she also struck Arrington with a belt and a paddle two to three times, the report said.

During the altercation, Arrington reportedly ran down the stairs and fell, hitting his forehead on a table, Markiece Palmer told police. The stepfather then told Arrington to take a bath, after which he put cocoa butter on the open wounds on the boy's buttocks, the report said.

Arrington, who told his father he felt like throwing up, then went to bed. He never woke up, the report said.

Markiece Palmer found the breathing, but unresponsive, boy in his bed between 6 and 6:45 a.m. on Thursday, the report said. Dina Palmer called their pastor, who told them to call an ambulance.

The mother called 911 at about 8 a.m., a little more than an hour after the stepfather found the boy unresponsive in bed, the report said.

When asked about the bruises and scars on her boy's body, Dina Palmer admitted to police the marks were from "whoopins" from both her and Markiece Palmer, the report said.

Police recovered a broken broom stick with what appears to be blood, belts, cords, spatulas and bloodied clothes from a warrant search of the Palmer residence, the report said.

The Palmers were arrested and booked at the Clark County Detention Center on Thursday. They are being held without bail.

The horrific allegations of child abuse stand in stark contrast to the couple's Facebook pages, which seemingly show a loving and religious family devoted to Roderick Arrington, nicknamed "RJ."

On one Facebook photo — apparently of Arrington and his niece — Markiece Palmer wrote: "My babies they make me happy. GOD bless the children!!!"

On another photo of the boy and another child, Dina Palmer wrote: "I love them with heart and soul!!!!" A Facebook post from October 2010 reads: "Lord please guide my steps.... I'm trying 2 do better.... I wanna do better 4 my son, my family, myself, 4 you LORD!!!!!!!!"

Several Facebook friends of Dina Palmer posted childhood photos of Arrington, which solicited responses such as "r.i.p" and "sorry for your loss."

According to an online press release, Markiece Palmer is a pastry chef and independent filmmaker who released a 23-minute short film last year called "Broken," which was based on his life experiences. Palmer grew up in rural Arkansas, studied business management in Washington and wrote a book, "Pour." After the book sold 2,000 copies, Palmer "suffered from the loss of a job, a failed relationship, and (was) stripped of his most valuable material possessions," according to the bio.

In June, Markiece Palmer married Dina Palmer, who is originally from Bloomington, Ill., according to her Facebook. By the fall, Arrington moved from Bloomington to live with the couple in Las Vegas.

Clark County School District officials said a team of grief counselors will be stationed at Roundy Elementary School this week to help students and staff cope with Arrington's death. School officials sent home a letter on Monday notifying families about the death.

There were 2,171 substantiated child abuse incidents reported in Clark County in 2010, according to the latest Nevada Kids Count study. Of those incidents, there were 13 child abuse cases that led to a child's death.

Children ages 2 and younger had the greatest risk of abuse and neglect, but about 20 percent of all child abuse cases in Nevada occur between ages 6 and 9. Boys are more likely to be abused than girls during the first nine years, but the pattern reverses in later years.

Nationally, more than five children die every day as a result of child abuse, according to the National Children's Alliance, an advocacy group for victims of child abuse.

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  1. I think I'm going to be sick.

  2. I am sick. I'm looking at my little 7 year old boy now. It's time to give him a hug and tell him that Daddy loves him.

  3. "...independent filmmaker who released a 23-minute short film last year called "Broken," which was based on his life experiences."

    I'll bet that was a real masterpiece.

    Abuse like these criminals laid on that child should not be tolerated.

  4. Where was the school system when all this was going on ?

  5. If you've ever wondered how bronze age thinkers would behave
    in the 21st century--I believe you now you now have your answer. Any civilized and rational person who thinks the Bible gives good advice on how to respond to rebellious children, has clearly not read it.

    He that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. -- Exodus 21:15

    He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. -- Exodus 21:17

    Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. -- Psalm 137:9

    Should we not expect this from someone who apparently values their religion above reason and logic? Well at least if they go to prison, they'll be up to speed with their fellow comrades who found God.

  6. Typical scumbags hiding behind religion and superstition to do whatever they want. I'll wager cash that neither of them takes responsibility for what they've done. They'll just blame "weakness", and claim that Jesus, forgives them, and that will absolve them of any wrongdoing in their own twisted minds. They just believe that their faith gives them a free pass to do whatever they like, and that they can simply invoke forgiveness to avoid any and all consequences of their actions.

    Lots of people worry about Muslims trying to evoke "Sharia Law" in America. That doesn't worry me half as much I genuinely fear Christians who will try to enact their own faith-based laws and rules to allow them harm anyone and anything that they see fit. Just look at the Facebook comments, "Sorry for your loss". Really? You shouldn't be sorry that someone murdered their own child, you should enraged! Accepting the fact that someone killed their own flesh and blood makes you almost as bad as that person because you willingly accept and validate their actions!

    If this is how "faith" drives someone's actions, then we should immediately stop all faith-based grants from the government. Who else is being harmed in "God's" name?

  7. This MIGHT be another example of people who have or keep custody of kids primarily for the social welfare benefits they can collect. Certainly this child had a terrible life. Anyone think ANY parent ever sincerely asked how his day was going? Ever cared about what the kid thought or needed? So tell me how social welfare benefits are a good thing?

  8. UMC--emergency medical care for those WITHOUT insurance but those with medicaid.

  9. Sorry for your loss! To the murderer! No! No! No!

    That person may be sharing the same congragation I pray that Metro can also look into that church as well. She the mother called her pastor before calling 911

    There comes a time to have trials instead of plea bargains and this is the time so others can see how these people were motivated to do what they did so it can be documented and not concealed from public view and left for interuptation.

  10. Roslenda, seriously??

    It's a trauma center. People with horrible trauma go there. My husband went there. The bill was twenty grand and we have great insurance. It's not all free, or Medicaid, despite what you think.

    This story is about a beautiful little boy that died at the hands of the people that were supposed to be taking care of him and you have to make it about local UMC nonsense? I hope you are proud of yourself.

  11. @Wolfdog - CCSD is very limited in what they legally can do for children who suffer from abuse. They have counselors that children can turn to if they feel unsafe, but once the child is off school property they have no legal rights to protect the child. The counselors rely heavily on CPS to evaluate the situation and remove the child from the home. Unfortunately, CPS was notified but never made it out to the house. While it is nice to think that this horrific tragedy could have been prevented had CPS interfered, chances are the child would have remained with his mother and stepfather, especially with the nice facade they put on as being loving, doting parents.
    @Robert Rooney - very well said, I could not agree with you more.
    May this young, beautiful child rest in peace. I truly hope he is in a place where he can be free from fear and pain.

  12. I cannot comprehend this. Beaten to death over Bible lessons (something ironic in that) and homework. Unebelievable.

    Two new long-term residents for the Department of Corrections.

  13. The parents should have given the child an age appropriate book of fairy tales to read.

  14. "A 7-year-old boy was beaten to death by his parents last week after he failed to read the Bible and do his homework, according to Metro Police."

    Takashi -- Metro is obviously wrong. The child was beaten to death by his mother and her accomplice. His father was half a continent away during all of this. Big difference, obviously. Did you bother to check who had legal custody of the boy? If the mother, which judge approved it?

    "Where was the school system when all this was going on ?"

    Wolfdog -- since when do government institutions replace actual parents??

    "Any civilized and rational person who thinks the Bible gives good advice on how to respond to rebellious children, has clearly not read it."

    dukeofdeath -- oh, they've read it all right. And live it. And those of that ilk nearly got the White House this election! Good post!

    "Certainly this child had a terrible life."

    Roslenda -- so far the facts show he was fine with his dad in Illinois. The question no one here is asking is why he was moved here.

    Shame on all you posters for posting zero about this boy's actual father! This tragedy aside, Takashi's article makes a compelling argument for throwing away Bible! and closing Facebook accounts!

    "After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands." -- Friedrich Nietzsche, 1888 "Ecce Homo - Why I Am a Destiny"

  15. Actually chuck333, the Christian Bible contains many instances of child abuse, murder and enslavement---much of it is either supported directly or indirectly or committed by God himself. So there is clear reason to associate Christians, as well as those of other faiths, with violence against children---which does illuminate the fact that KillerB is indeed barking up the correct tree.

  16. On a more general level, is there all that much difference between punishing a child for not reading the Bible and for not reading the Koran? Are those who would implement Christian doctrine in our laws any different than those who call for Sharia elsewhere?

    This is just disgusting on so many levels. :(

  17. "KillerB: Don't equate what these animals did to this child with Christians. You're barking up the wrong tree."

    chuck333 -- you seem clueless of christianity in general and American christianity specifically. In general its history is one of slaughter and genocide, educate yourself @ Specifically a great deal of the extermination of this continent's native population was in the name of the christian version of god. The Sand Creek Massacre was led by a Methodist Presiding Elder -- only one of many, many examples (Google it). By no stretch of the imagination is this old thinking -- have a look @ It seems the Palmers took his book's advice.

    Thomas Jefferson was right -- his word for the New Testament was "dunghill."

  18. "On a more general level, is there all that much difference between punishing a child for not reading the Bible and for not reading the Koran?"

    boftx -- the Quran, Torah and the christian Bible's Old Testament all have the same roots. You can find some of that @ Some of dukeofdeath's earlier post quoting Ezekiel, et al., is instructive

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." -- attributed to Seneca the Younger (executed by Nero 65 A.C.E.)

  19. How many second-graders are forced to read the Bible or other book? How about a Mother or Father reading to the child. Didn't happen here. It does not take a career social worker to read between the lines. This child was beaten for "behavior" issues that seem to be behavior problems of the parents, not the child. There was NO PRETENSE that they were parenting this kid.

  20. Why was this story not the Sun's or the LVRJ's above-the-fold-headline for today (12/4/2012)? And out of a population of 1,969,975 people here in Clark County, only about 15 of them are commenting about this horrific and tragic event? Are we so damned jaded as a society that the death of this innocent little boy will go largely unnoticed? I greatly fear that this will be the case.

  21. I find is sad that so many people who are outraged that these parents would beat their child as punishment are so eager to beat the couple as punishment.

    How are you guys any different. If beating someone as a punishment is acceptable to you, why are you so outraged that someone would do what you have such a strong desire to do yourselves, If beating someone as a punishment is unacceptable, how can you condone it?

  22. "I find is sad that so many people who are outraged that these parents would beat their child as punishment are so eager to beat the couple as punishment."

    bghs1986 -- welcome to the herd. Or the lynch mob. You choose. It's the price we all pay for free speech and the Sun graciously providing this forum.

    "Although the most clear-sighted judges of witches and even the witches themselves were convinced the witches were guilty of witchcraft, no guilt in fact existed. So it is with all guilt." -- Friedrich Nietzsche 1882 "Gay Science"

  23. "KillerB: The United States and our Constitution were based on Judeo Christian Values. So back at ya try educating yourself."

    chuck333 -- you're absolutely wrong

    "As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] ..... The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation." -- Treaty of Tripoli (1797), carried unanimously by the Senate and signed into law by John Adams (the original language is by Joel Barlow, US Consul)

  24. @chuck333..."Oh by the way christianity[sic] is a philosophy not a religion." When will my fellow conservatives stop parroting Fox News without taking a moment to determine the validity of what you hear.

    You little gem was the latest foot in mouth of
    Bill O'Reilly, and I'm sorry, Bill was wrong here, something you could have learned by opening a dictionary.

    A religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, considers the origin of mankind, and involves the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

    While a philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence as an academic discipline rather than a spiritual one.

    While there is a Christian Philosophy, Christianity us a religion.

  25. chuck333 and SgtRock need to do more research before claiming to know what they in fact, do not actually know. I'm mean no disrespect towards these two fine gentlemen, but it is patently obvious that they have not done any inquiring into opposing arguments, otherwise they would not make such ill informed claims. To try and enlighten them now is inappropriate and off topic. Let me leave them with this---when was the last time you heard a story of a child being abused for refusing to read David Hume or Emanuel Kant or Christopher Hitchens?