Parents held in beating death of Khalil Wimes

The biological parents of Khalil Wimes were held for trial today on first-degree murder charges in the six-year-old’s beating death.

Wimes was pronounced dead March 19 at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania. Tina Cuffie, 44, and Latiff Hadi, also known as Floyd Wimes, 48, are accused of starving the young child and repeatedly abusing him.

Wimes was significantly malnourished and weighed just 29 pounds when he died and his body was covered in bruises, an assistant medical examiner testified. The case has brought back memories of Danieal Kelly, who was only 46 pounds when she died in 2006 at age 14. While there was no open case on Khalil Wimes, a social worker did visit the home regularly to check on his siblings, officials have said.

That social worker has been placed on administrative duty pending an internal investigation. The department is expected to audit all cases handled by that employee and the employee’s direct supervisor.

In the case of Wimes, he was placed back in the hands of his biological parents in 2009 after spending the first three years with a foster family who are distant relatives of his biological parents.

Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Aaron Rosen testified that Khalil had bruises literally on each segment of his body and hemorrhaging just below the surface of his head which was caused by blunt force trauma. He testified that the hemorrhaging was fresh and was likely caused by at least two blows. He also noted that Khalil weighed seven pounds less than he did at age three, based on his medical records.

Homicide Detective Howard Peterman also took the stand and read the statement Cuffie gave homicide detectives following Khalil’s death. In it, Cuffie allegedly said that the morning of his death she smacked the boy in the back of his head, causing him to fall on his face on the bathroom floor. She allegedly said Khalil appeared dazed and disoriented after the fall and never fully returned to normal.

Cuffie’s defense attorney argued that her abuse did not rise to the level of homicide, specifically first-degree, which requires intent. Ladi’s attorney conceded that his client did not properly see to Khalil’s care, but claimed he was not responsible for the physical abuse.

Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Blasi ordered both to stand trial. They will be arraigned next month.

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