Man charged with murder of 2-year-old stepson in East Nashville

Crime Tracker

WARNING: Details included in this story may be considered disturbing.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A 33-year-old man told Metro detectives he beat a two-year-old boy to death at an East Nashville residence because the child would not stop whining, an arrest warrant alleges.

Rozelle L. Westmoreland (Source: Metro Nashville Police Department)

Rozelle Westmoreland was arrested Tuesday evening on South 7th Street for an outstanding probation violation warrant. He was later charged with criminal homicide.

The warrant states Metro police and the Nashville Fire Department responded Friday, Oct. 9 to an apartment on North 2nd Street near Joseph Avenue, where a two-year-old had been found unconscious and not breathing. The child was transported to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and pronounced dead around 5:30 p.m., the paperwork states.

The two-year-old boy was later identified by investigators as Cincere Hathaway, Westmoreland’s stepson.

Photos provided by Anton Rucker, cousin of Cincere Hathaway

Metro police said Westmoreland struck Hathaway in the head and torso, then pushed the child into the side of a bathtub, causing his head to hit the floor. Officers said Westmoreland picked Hathaway up, dressed him, put him in bed and left the apartment.

Hathaway was later discovered unconscious by his mother, when she returned home after having been away for a few hours, according to investigators.

During an interview with detectives, police said Westmoreland admitted Hathaway’s whining angered him and he struck the boy numerous times in the head and body.

An autopsy revealed Hathaway had suffered two skull fractures with brain bleeding and nine rib fractures. according to investigators. They added the child also had “severe internal injuries” including “a lacerated liver” and his “lung being attached to the ribcage from severe trauma.”

Westmoreland was held in the Metro jail without bond.

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