A Dakota County Grand Jury indicted a 26-year-old man on suspicion of eight murder charges in connection with the death 4-year-old Key’ontay Miller Peterson on June 11, the Dakota County Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
William Alphonso Warr was in an ongoing relationship with the 4-year-old’s Burnsville boy’s mother—although there was an order for protection barring him from having contact with the boy, his mother or his 2-year-old brother.
Warr has been indicted on three charges that require proof of a past pattern of child abuse and that the victim’s death was caused “under circumstances manifesting in extreme indifference to human life”:
- First-degree murder (while committing child abuse: assault in the first degree)
- First-degree murder (while committing child abuse: malicious punishment of a child)
- First-degree murder (while committing child abuse: neglect of a child)
A fourth charge requires proof of a past pattern of domestic abuse and that the victim’s death was cause with extreme indifference to human life:
- First-degree murder (while committing domestic abuse)
The remaining four charges are:
- Second-degree murder (while committing a felony: assault in the first degree)
- Second-degree murder (while committing a felony: malicious punishment of a child)
- Second-degree murder (while committing a felony: neglect of a child)
- Second-degree murder (while inflicting bodily harm upon a person protected by an order for protection)
“These charges reflect allegations that this was intentional child and domestic abuse that tragically claimed the life of a defenseless child, under circumstances that manifested an extreme indifference to human life and involved a past pattern of child and domestic abuse. Our deep sympathy is extended to the young victim’s family.”
Warr appeared in court for the first time on the charges Thursday. A judge set bail at $1 million with no conditions or $750,000 with conditions—although he’s currently in state prison for his conviction of violating the order for protection in this case.
He's set to appear in court again at 9 a.m. April 29 in Hastings.
Paramedics who responded to the 30th block of Horizon Heights found Key’ontay Miller Peterson laying on the floor of his bedroom.
As police arrived in the parking lot, a vehicle hit the side of a garage. The driver told an officer that he was the stepfather of the “sick” boy inside and that he needed to get to the hospital. When the officer asked him for his keys, the driver reportedly tried to run away but slipped and fell a short distance from the complex. He was later identified as William Alphonso Warr.
A Hennepin County medical examiner’s autopsy determined that Key’ontay died from complications caused by blunt force injuries to his abdomen and chest. He also had multiple bruises on his head, face, arms, chest and back—as well as eight broken ribs that occurred on at least two different occasions.
The boy’s mother told police that he had been sick since June 6, complaining of stomach pain and had flu-like symptoms. Just before she called 911, she had tried to give her son a bath to bring down his fever. While bathing, he lost consciousness and stopped breathing. She also told investigators that Warr had physically assaulted her multiple times.
Warr admitted to police that he was in the apartment with Key’ontay when he died and that he had physically disciplined the boy—but he denied responsible for the 4-year-old’s death, according to investigators.
Police also learned that, in 2012, a daycare employee saw an injury on the back of Key’ontay’s head, which the boys told the employee happened because Warr was “whooping” him.
In May 2013, Key’ontay also got a black eye while alone with Warr. Warr told the boy’s mother that the 4-year-old hit his eye on a toy box, but Key’ontay told another family member that Warr “whooped” him, causing him to fall and hurt his eye.