• ‘I was under a lot of stress,' says St. Cloud man convicted of fatally beating 3-month-old son

    By: WFTV Web Staff

    Updated:

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A 33-year-old St. Cloud man convicted of killing his 3-month-old son in 2013 will be sentenced Monday.

    Investigators said Larry Perry beat Ayden Perry so badly at their home that the boy had to be taken to a hospital, where he died.

    Jurors began the process Monday to decide if Perry will be sentenced to death or to life in prison without parole.

    A jury on Thursday found Perry guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. Perry kept his head down Thursday while the verdict was read last week.

    Read: St. Cloud man found guilty in 3-month-old son's beating death

    Larry Perry
    © 2018 Cox Media Group.

    After deliberating for two hours, jurors requested to re-watch two videos played earlier in the trial: one of Perry's confession and another of him using a doll to demonstrate to detectives what he said he did to the child.

    Portions of the videos were replayed during Monday's hearing.

    "It's hard to recreate the terror the pain the suffering that this child went through," a prosecutor said.

    As the child’s mother sat in the courtroom for the first time during the proceedings, the defense worked to influence the just by putting Perry on the stand, accentuating his low IQ and placement in special education.

    Perry said he was overwhelmed with the responsibility of taking care of a baby and he sought help when the child’s mother was sent to jail, but he didn’t get it.

    “I was under a lot of stress. I wasn’t used to this stuff,” he said.

    The prosecution dismissed that testimony, pressing Perry to admit he never asked for help.

    Michelle Barnes, the boy's aunt, described how devastated her family has been since his death.

    "Our lives are definitely not the same," Barnes said in court Monday. "We have to go to counseling. I can't sleep at night. I have really bad anxiety. I have panic attacks."

    Perry told investigators in 2013 that his infant son wouldn't stop crying, so he kicked the boy, slammed his head and twisted his neck, a police report said.

    The man said he "couldn't take it anymore" and "went crazy," the report said.

    Medical examiner Dr. Gary Utz said Monday that Ayden would have suffered fewer injuries had he had been thrown from a two-story building.

    Read: Attorneys for man accused of killing baby fight to keep death penalty off the table

    © 2018 Cox Media Group.
    © 2018 Cox Media Group.

    Utz called it one of the worst cases of child abuse he has seen in his career.

    Before breaking for lunch, Judge Jon Morgan reminded Perry that he has the right to testify. He nodded, implying that he understood.

    The case is one of 24 that Florida Gov. Rick Scott reassigned from State Attorney Aramis Ayala to State Attorney Brad King after she announced she wouldn't pursue the death penalty during her tenure.

    Read: Police: Man told 911 operator he injured infant son who later died

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