MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 28-year-old man was indicted Friday on felony murder counts involving the 2017 death of a 3-year-old child.
Charles Wayne Homich has been indicted by the Dakota County Grand Jury with four counts of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder.
On June 7, 2017, police responded to an Eagan townhome on a report of a 3-year-old boy not breathing. Zayden Lawson, a foster child in the care of Homich’s girlfriend, 31-year-old Zeporia Fortenberry, was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead.
An autopsy revealed Lawson died from multiple blunt-force injuries. According to an investigation, Fortenberry was working the night shift on June 6, 2017, and left Lawson and his younger brother in Homich’s care. The morning of June 7, Lawson was found lying on the floor of his bedroom with dark-colored vomit on his clothing and floor.
Throughout the day on June 7, Lawson told Fortenberry his stomach hurt and he vomited a couple times. According to a criminal complaint, she noticed he wasn’t conscious or breathing after putting him on a mattress next to her bed and called the police.
“This little boy sustained horrific injuries allegedly at the hands of Charles Homich – injuries he may have survived had the adults in his life sought the necessary medical care he so desperately needed,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement.
Fortenberry was charged April 16 with two counts of second-degree manslaughter. The case against her is still pending.
Homich is in custody and will make his first court appearance on the indictment on Dec. 24. Currently, his bail remains at $1 million without conditions.