Huntington Park man convicted in killing of girlfriend's 1-year-old
A Huntington Park man was convicted of murder Tuesday in the death of his girlfriend’s baby.
After a day of deliberations, jurors found Lamar Ahmad Tatum, 27, guilty of second-degree murder and one count of assault resulting in the death of a child for throwing 1-year-old Majesty Lyles against a wall in February 2015.
In the second row of benches in the courtroom, Majesty’s father, Alvin Lyles, relaxed and leaned back after the verdict was read. His wife silently clapped as the clerk confirmed the maximum sentence: 25 years to life. Several jurors gave the couple looks of sympathy and thumbs up as people filed out of the courtroom.
“I am just so relieved that justice was served and this is all over,” Alvin Lyles said. “Lamar [Tatum] didn’t even look the least bit remorseful. But it doesn’t matter, it’s official.”
In the two-day trial, the prosecutor detailed Tatum’s aggressive parenting, hitting his then-girlfriend’s children and repeatedly dropping his own baby daughter on the bed.
The girlfriend, Altamisha Hamilton, said Tatum rarely played with her son Majesty and often called him a “crybaby” and other names.
“We are here because Majesty cried, and the defendant stopped the crying forever,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Pallavi Dhawan said in opening arguments Friday. She showed the courtroom an image of the child, swollen and bleeding from his head.
About 8 a.m. on Feb. 18, 2015, Hamilton left Majesty and her 2-year-old son with Tatum so she could make a housing authority appointment in Alhambra.
In court testimony, Hamilton said she did not trust Tatum to babysit her children. Majesty had developed a welt after being under Tatum’s supervision in December 2014, she said, and after that she took a night job so she could watch them. But that morning, no one else was available.
“The housing authority said I couldn’t bring my children, and I already pushed the meeting several times because of a lack of child care,” Hamilton said in court. “But the housing authority said I couldn’t reschedule anymore or else I could lose my housing.”
On the morning of the meeting, she found Tatum, his brother, and another woman sleeping in the living room. Her 2-year-old was eating breakfast, and Majesty was sleeping in his room. She kissed her sons goodbye and traveled nearly an hour and a half for her appointment.
When she returned home after noon, she found Tatum and her 2-year-old son standing outside the apartment, surrounded by police and paramedics.
Tatum told her that Majesty had fallen out of a stroller. After an investigation, Tatum confessed that he threw the baby out of frustration.
In court, Tatum testified that Majesty would not stop crying or take his bottle. He then carried the baby to the bedroom and threw him toward the bed.
“It was an underhanded toss,” he said on the stand. “The force was more like a bounce pass than a chest pass.”
After the baby hit the wall and landed on the bed, Tatum went to the kitchen for a glass of water. He returned to find Majesty unresponsive. In a panic, he called Hamilton and 911. Majesty was taken to a hospital and died Feb. 27, 2015, at 11:56 p.m., according to coroner’s records.
Tatum is scheduled to return to court April 26 for sentencing.