Sunday, January 4, 2009

Video: Platt Kills Son Ja'Shawn Powell, 2, Over Court-ordered Child Support

The above video of Danny Platt, the New Orleans man who killed his 2-year-old son, Ja'Shawn Powell, because he didn't want to pay child support comes from The Times Picayune site, NOLA.com, but I became aware of the story when it broke yesterday via WWL TV.

I wrote the first post about Ja Shawn Powell when I heard he was missing and the fishy story his father, Danny Platt, 22, told to the police. The focus of the post was 1.) I hoped the child would be found alive but doubted it, 2.) I didn't believe the father's story about three black gunmen taking his son and figured it was a domestic violence issue, and 3.) Stories of missing or murdered black children generally don't get the same news coverage as stories of missing or murdered white children. See first post here.

I and many others believed immediately that Platt, about whom we nothing other than his bizarre kidnapping tale, had killed his son, a child that he'd not bothered to visit in two years. Consequently, I wasn't surprised when the mother, Daniella Powell, told a reporter that Platt had been angry about paying child support, but when he called her up Friday night and said he wanted to get to know the child and take him out, she let Ja Shawn go with his father anyway because the courts ordered visitation.

This is the story of a mother's nightmare. You don't trust the father, but you're trying to live by court order and not be accused of stopping a man from seeing his child.
She (Daniella Powell) said Platt never picked up the child before, but suddenly Friday evening, around 8:30 p.m., he called, saying he wanted Ja Shawn to spend the weekend with him.

Powell has not seen Ja Shawn since, saying she had to give the child to the father because he had visitation rights to see Ja Shawn.

“Then he called me back at 11 p.m.,” she said. “And he was like,‘Your son was kidnapped, bye.’ He didn’t even say anything after.”

“I called him back and said, 'How do you let a two-year-old get kidnapped? What was you doing that he got kidnapped?'” she said. “He said, ‘Why you blaming this on me? Why you blaming this on me? I ain’t got time for this, bye.’”

Powell called Platt back a third time and asked if he called police. “He said, “Yeah, I called the police. As a matter of fact, they’re here right now and I’m about to flag them down.” But Daniella said when she talked to police, they told her the father had not called them.

Because Powell had called police, officers flagged the father down, she said.

Powell said that she saw the father last night in the back of a police car, but he would not look at her. (WWL)
Finally, Platt led police to the child's body and confessed to the murder. However, the coroner has not officially identified the body as Ja Shawn's, and neither has the NOPD revealed how the 2-year-old died.

WWL TV reports that NOPD Superintendent said the following:
“There was an issue, believe it or not, with him (Danny Platt) recently being ordered to pay child support, and he had made some comments that he would he kill either the wife or the child before he paid child support,” said Superintendent Warren Riley at a press conference. “He was recently ordered to pay child support. Our understanding is he, for the first time in two years, picked up his son, who he had visitation rights for. (Source)
Powell told reporters the court ordered Platt to pay $4000 in back child support and $446 in "regular" child support monthly.

Links to video:
Read more of this story at NOLA.com as well, from which comes the following information about Platt's arrest and murder charge.
Detectives escorted Danny Platt, 22, into jail Saturday evening and booked him with first-degree murder in the death of his son, Ja'Shawn Powell, less than 24 hours earlier.

His hands cuffed behind his back, his head hanging low, his eyes red and wet, Platt said, "I'm sorry about killing my baby." (NOLA.com)
These are the types of cases that make objecting to the death penalty under any circumstances sound insane.

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