In a chaotic hearing, man is sentenced to 30 years to life in death of 1-year-old
On the day of sentencing, after nearly two years of investigations and court proceedings, Alvin Lyles finally addressed the man who killed his 1-year-old son.
In a downtown courtroom Wednesday, Lyles gripped the edges of a lectern, reeling off a burst of angry comments and obscenities. A few yards away, Lamar Tatum played with the fray of his prison blues. He would soon be sentenced to 30 years to life for killing 13-month-old Majesty Lyles in 2015. Tatum was convicted of second-degree murder earlier this month.
“I just hope that whoever is taking care of your baby daughter is not like you,” Lyles said in a final jab at Tatum.
Tatum’s eyes finally met Lyles’.
Within moments, Tatum was struggling on the floor against sheriff’s deputies’ restraints. Lyles stood squarely at the lectern, a retort for every comment from Tatum.
Deputies asked Lyles to leave the room, and Tatum continued to yell and struggle on the floor for several minutes before court could resume.
“I didn’t mean for that to happen,” Lyles said outside the courtroom. “I’m just glad it’s over.”
The courtroom outbreak came after a two-hour delay because Tatum was reluctant to come to court. His defense attorney said Tatum knew a Los Angeles Times photographer would be present and feared for his life if someone in prison were to recognize him from any media photos.
“It’s my life I’m worried about,” he cried out while the motion was being discussed.
Prosecutors said that on Feb. 18, 2015, Tatum was watching Majesty Lyles and his 2-year-old brother at their Huntington Park apartment while their mother went to an appointment in Alhambra. At the time, Tatum and the mother had been dating for almost a year.
Normally, Tatum would not have watched the children, because Majesty’s mother did not trust him to be alone with them. But Tatum was the only one available that day.
Tatum testified that, on the day of the killing, 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 testified. “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 the mother and 911. Majesty was taken to a hospital and died the next week.
Tatum initially told police and the baby’s mother that Majesty Lyles had fallen. He later confessed and was arrested in October 2015.