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Police say Katerra Marsha Lewis, 26, and a friend left the 8-year-old boy to watch over five younger children while the women went to a nightclub. The boy beat Kelci Lewis to death last month when she wouldn't stop crying and placed her back in her crib as if she were asleep, police said.
The boy was charged with murder in juvenile court and placed into the custody of child welfare workers, Birmingham Police spokesman Sean Edwards said. The infant's mother faces a manslaughter charge.
Legal experts say the case will be challenging on several fronts because of the boy's age.
University of Alabama associate law professor Jenny Carroll said in many jurisdictions, children under the age of 10 or 12 are presumed not to have the capacity to form criminal intent and have difficulty understanding court proceedings.
"We recognize that children don't have the same thought processes and don't have fully developed decision-making processes at that age," said Carroll, who has represented juvenile offenders.
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