A baby who suffered horrific sexual abuse inflicted by his mother and her boyfriend died ‘in horror and pain’ on his first birthday, police say.
Hoss Wayne Benham was found to have suffered 89 injuries across his body after dying on March 11 2014 – the day he turned one year-old.
His mother Crystal Ballenger and her boyfriend Jeffrey Hugh Brown have been charged with capital murder, with Brown’s trial adjourned to a later date during a hearing on Tuesday.
The Cullman Times reported that Brown had finally been due to face jurors later this month, almost four years after being indicted, but will now stand trial no earlier than September.
The adjournment was requested by Brown’s attorney, with no reason given.
It is unclear when Ballenger is due back before a judge.
The pair are said to have lied that Hoss drowned in the bathtub at their trailer home in Cullman, Alabama, after taking the unresponsive baby to hospital.
But an autopsy performed after his death found Hoss had 38 injuries on his head and neck sustained by blunt-force trauma.
He had four injuries on each of his eyes, 19 on his arms and legs, six on his torso – and seven on his genitalia and anus.
Prosecutors say the injuries indicate Hoss suffered both physical and sexual torture at the hands of his mother and Brown.
Speaking at a hearing after the pair were indicted in October 2015, prosecutor Wilson Blaylock said: ‘It’s really unbelievable and just hard to read what happened to this infant child.
‘His last 36 hours were spent in horror and pain.’
If convicted of capital murder, Ballenger and Brown face life in prison or execution.
They have also been charged with sexual torture and capital murder during sexual abuse.
Both are said to have tested positive for drugs including methamphetamine after Hoss’s death.
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