On Sunday, September 29, police officers from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office responded to a tragic call regarding an unresponsive child. According to The Edwardsville Intelligencer, the call would later lead to charges for felony crimes in relation to the death of a young boy at the hands of his mother’s fiancée. 24-year-old Tavon K. Ludy will face two counts of first-degree murder and a charge of aggravated battery to a child. The boy’s mother, 27-year-old Toria Coleman will also face felony charges for endangering the life or health of a child. This case demonstrates the serious nature of crimes against children, especially those that result in the death of the child.
Torian Whittaker was the 5-year-old son of Toria Coleman. He and his 7-year-old brother were allegedly repeatedly disciplined by Ms. Coleman’s fiancée, Tavon K. Ludy, for minor problems with their behavior. On the evening of September 29, 2013, the discipline went too far and Mr. Ludy allegedly beat Torian to death. Torian was taken to Anderson Hospital, where he later died. According to sheriff’s reports, Ms. Coleman had been home when Mr. Ludy dealt her son the lethal blow to his chest. Ms. Coleman is believed to have been aware of the physical abuse taking place against her sons, but did nothing to stop Mr. Ludy. Since the incident, the 7-year-old has been taken into protective custody. Mr. Ludy is being held in jail on a $550,000 bail, while Ms.Coleman’s bail is set at $50,000.
Illinois Criminal Law
Although Ms. Coleman allegedly did not take part in administering the beatings to her sons, and the lethal blow that eventually killed one of them, she is still facing serious felony charges. Under 720 ILSC 5/12C-5, endangering the life of a child is a Class A misdemeanor, except in the case that the person has a prior conviction, or when it results in the death of the child. A person is guilty of child endangerment when he or she causes or permits the life or health of a child under 18-years-old to be endangered, or causes or permits a child to be placed in dangerous circumstances.
As for Mr. Ludy, first-degree murder is a very serious crime under Illinois criminal laws, and can be punishable by death in certain circumstances. Additionally, the charge of aggravated battery of a child is a serious felony crime. Under Illinois criminal laws, a person commits aggravated battery of a child when he or she intentionally or knowingly, and without any justification, causes great bodily harm or permanent disability and disfigurement to any child under the age of 13 years. A violation of the statute is a Class X felony, except that the term of imprisonment may be increased based on certain factors, such as if the offender used a firearm in the commission of the battery.
The multiple felony crimes in the case of Mr. Ludy and Ms. Coleman will bring serious penalties and consequences if the accused are found to be guilty. If you have been charged with violating Illinois criminal laws, you should immediately seek out an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact the experienced attorneys at Goldman & Associates today for a confidential consultation.