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Father charged in near-fatal beating of 2-year-old son

By the CNN Wire Staff
Lee Willie Dejesus says he was trying to teach his child how to box.
Lee Willie Dejesus says he was trying to teach his child how to box.
  • NEW: Lee Willie Dejesus, 23, has been charged with felonies that could be upgraded to murder
  • Dejesus says he was teaching his son how to box
  • The boy is on life support and not expected to recover, police say

For more details on this story, check out CNN affiliates WFOR and WSVN.

Miami, Florida (CNN) -- A Florida man who admitted to the near-fatal beating of his two-year-old son while teaching him how to box remained behind bars Thursday, facing felony charges.

Lee Willie Dejesus, 23, of Homestead, appeared in court Wednesday night wearing a green protective vest reserved for those on suicide watch, reported CNN affiliate WFOR. A judge denied him bail.

Dejesus' son was on life support Thursday, said Ed Griffith, spokesman for the Miami-Dade state attorney's office. Griffith said it was his understanding that the child was being kept on life support so his organs could be donated.

Dejesus is charged with aggravated child abuse with great harm, a first-degree felony, and aggravated child neglect with great harm, a second-degree felony. Griffith said once prosecutors are notified the child has been taken off life support and pronounced dead, they are poised to file first-degree murder charges against Dejesus.

Miami-Dade police said Dejesus was watching the child while his mother was at work Monday night.

Video: Cops: Boy treated like punching bag
  • Florida
  • Child Abuse

He told police that he put on boxing gloves and struck the child about 15 times on his face, head, torso and shoulders over a period of 15 minutes, punching him so hard at one point that the boy fell off the bed and struck his head on the tile floor.

The child was rushed to Children's Hospital where he underwent surgery for bleeding on the brain.

A criminal complaint alleges that Dejesus waited to call for medical help for as long as an hour after the boy became unresponsive. He eventually called 911 after the boy's lips became blue, according to the complaint.

Dejesus initially told police that the boy was beaten by a babysitter before admitting he was responsible, the complaint says.

In Session's Aletse Mellado contributed to this report.