Dashawn Harris
  - December 1, 2012

Dashawn harris was only five years old when made a fatal mistake while being home schooled, he wasn't able to pronounce the word "sad" properly and this caused his mother's boyfriend, 25 year old Christian Patrick to either spank him with a belt or punch him with a fist. Where was Dashawn's mother? Lashay Patterson was 23 years old at that time and she did nothing to protect him or his three year old brother, Daqwan, from this man who chose to abuse both of the children in the home.

Police were called to the home of Lashay and at 1:00 a.m. on that December morning, they found Dashawn with obvious signs of abuse that included cigarette burns. Dashawn was taken to the Hahnemann University Hospital, when he arrived, he was pronounced dead.

Patrick already had convictions on his record for dealing drugs. Christian and Lashay were questioned for many hours before being arrested and charged with murder.

On Dashawn's father's side of the family, there was sadness and shock:

"I can't believe she did that. Shay was the sweetest person you could meet
and when she got with this guy, she just started getting distant"
Grace Fitch - Paternal Grandmother

Tracy Merriweather, a paternal aunt, said that she lived next door and she was witness to domestic violence between the two adults in the home. Dashawn's father, Fransisco, took custody of Daqwan and said that he wasn't aware that there had been any trouble in the home.

Investigators were disgusted when they checked out the home looking for answers and State Legislator Curtis Thomas
was among them:

"We have too many situations where babies are at risk and at risk for thigns
we can control"

When questioned about any possible reports to the Department Of Human Services, Charles Ramsey said:

"I don't know if DHS was aware of the family or not or if it had been reported. If it
was not reported, as far as I'm concerned, those people oughta be charged if they
knew about it. A five year old is helpless, they're not going to pick up the phone and
call family services if they're being abused. It's up to adults to do that. So if we really
have people who knew it was going on and failed to act then, in my opinion, there
oughta be consideration towards charging them"

Charles Ramsey said that he hoped Patrick and Lashay would be tried, found guilty and sentenced to live in prison with no parole.

It became apparent during the autopsy that the couple had tried to use a hair dryer to warm Dashawn's body. Patrick and Lashay originally told Police that Dashawn had fallen off of his bike, later though, Patrick admitted that he had become upset when Dashawn refused to pronounce the a sound when saying the word sad so he beat him over and over in an attempt to make him say it. Lashay sat watching, doing nothing to protect her son from this man and later told Police that she didn't hear any bones breaking "or nothin like that", so she didn't stop him.

In June of 2014 Christian Patrick, by then 26 years old and Lashay Patterson, by then 25 years old, had plead guilty to third degree murder, conspiracy and related offenses in the death of Dashawn. Assistant District Attorney Bridget Kirn was the prosecutor in this case and said that the couple called First Responders to report that a child was unconscious and that as soon as they saw Sashawn, they had supsected abuse:

"There was not an inch of this child's body that wasn't covered with signs
of physical abuse. He had bruises, he had abrasions, he had cuts and parts
of his body were burned"

Lashay eventually admitted that the abuse had been going on for about three months, he had injuries that were in various stages of healing:

"She preferred Christian Patrick to hit, because he could hit harder"

Patrick admitted that he had been hitting Dashawn at least two days out of the week since at least September of 2012.

"Clearly this is a case of child abuse. People that had no business with children
to do something like that to a five year old is just beyond my capability to comprehend.
The body had obvoius signs of trauma, burn marks, bruising. The mother and the
boyfriend admit they've struck the child and have burned the child in the past"
Police Commissioner - Charles Ramsey

Family members said that the children lived with their mother and her boyfriend and they had tried to see the children but were not able to because they were turned away:

"I'm hurt, crushed. I want to see justice in this because my son didn't deserve that.
I tried to see him and they didn't let me see him. I tried to contact them and she
wouldn't let me contact them"
Francisco Harris - Father

"Not Lashay, I never would have thought she would do something like that.
She was the sweetest person, she really was"
Grace Fitch - Grandmother

In June of 2014, Patrick and Lashay were each sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison.

Thank you for sending me this story Trisha.

This page was created on January 26, 2015
Death occurred in the state of Pennsylvania

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