N.Y. Man Beats Young Boy to Death for ’Acting Like A Little Girl’

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday August 4, 2010

A man entrusted with the care of a 17-month-old boy reportedly told authorities that he beat the child to death in a bid to "make him act like a boy instead of a little girl." The suspect allegedly also admitted, "I never struck that kid that hard before."

Pedro Jones, 20, is the boyfriend of the infant's mother, according to an Aug. 2 report at the web site for New York television station WPIX. Jones, who is not part of the Shinnecock nation, lived on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation on Long Island, with the mother and infant child. The reservation is located on Long Island.

Jones had been left to care for the infant when the alleged fatal beating took place on the evening of July 31. A police report says that Jones struck the infant "several times throughout his body with close fists" and also seized the child by the neck.

"I was trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl," Jones told the police, according to the WPIX report. "A one-time mistake, and I am going to do 20 years," the suspect reportedly added.

Police arrived at the scene to find the child in cardiac arrest, media reports said. The child was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Jones was taken into custody and is being held without bail. He has pled not guilty to a charge of manslaughter, according to an Aug. 2 report by News 12 Long Island.

"I just found out my Grandson died last night that's all I know," Donna Collins Smith told WPIX. told PIX 11 News.

"He infiltrated my family through our trust, through the heart of my daughter and then stole the life of her child," Daniel Collins, the child's grandfather, said. "I hope the justice system turns around and steals his."

Jones told reporters that the killing was an accident. ""I'm sorry," Jones said. "That's my baby. I loved him to death."

Jones may face upgraded charges if the investigation indicates they are warranted. New York state law makes attack on a person because of real or perceived sexual orientation a criminal offense under hate crimes legislation. Moreover, federal hate crimes legislation also covers attacks motivated by the victim's real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Media sources did not specify what Jones meant by saying that the child was "act[ing like a]... little girl." But the online response indicates that the boy's killing is being seen as an example of an anti-gay (or anti-trans) hate crime. "This is where homophobia takes you," on reader commented at GLBT news site Queerty.com.

"American Society's festering, unaddressed scourge of Homophobia just claimed it's littlest victim," a reader of the news item on the case posted at Advocate.com wrote. "How long before we rise up as a people to exterminate this pervasive evil in our country?"

"This atrocity was not a 'one-time mistake," commented a reader at Rod 2.0. "Taking the wrong exit on the expressway is a 'one-time mistake'." The posting continued, "I cried real tears reading this, not just for the baby that will never grow up, but for the mores of a society that encourages hypermasculinity to the point of murder."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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