9-year-old boy charged with beating death of 14-month-old child

Taquan A. Willis 
By: Hydar Tomar 

(Scroll down for video) A 9-year-old boy has become the youngest ever to be charged with first degree murder in the state of Illinois, according to court proceedings.

The 9-year-old boy has been charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of a toddler in a suburb of St. Louis.

Associate Judge Walter Brandon on Thursday, ordered the Department of Human Services to take custody of the child, who was charged as a juvenile in the death of a 14-month-old child, in Cahokia. The toddler has been identified as Taquan A. Willis, according to press reports.

Defense attorney Bill Walker said that the child's mother and grandmother both died years ago, and the other adults in his life were arrested on charges of child neglect. Prosecutors alleged that the three adults left the child unsupervised with four other children.

The judge ordered the child to receive a psychiatric evaluation. Walker said the issue prosecutors will have was the boy’s age, not his mental state.

Prosecutors on Wednesday, also filed charges of child abuse against several adults in this case. The dead toddler's mother, Alisha E. Johnson, 22, of 414 Levin Drive, Cahokia, was charged with five counts of endangering the life of a child.

Melissa A. Wilbourn, 31, of 234 Judith Lane, Cahokia, and David J. Hollis, 42, of 310 Isabell, Cahokia, where the child's death occurred, were also charged with five counts of endangering the life of a child.

The charges allege that the adults allowed the 14-month-old child, to be unsupervised at home with four children under the age of 12 years.