A couple had sex and ate pizza as they tortured a three-year-old child to death, American prosecutors have alleged.
Jilliam Tait, who is the boy’s mother, and her boyfriend Gary Fellenbaum are accused of murdering the child over a period of three days through a process of physical torture.
Mr Fellenbaum is alleged to have repeatedly struck Scotty McMillan with a whip while hanging him upside down by his feet, as well as taping him to a chair and beating him with objects including a frying pan.
The couple live in a mobile home in Chester County, Pennsylvania, which they share with Mr Fellenbaum’s estranged wife.
The country’s district attorney Thomas Hogan described how nurses at the emergency room at the hospital where the child was brought “wept” when they saw his battered body.
“Let me tell you about an American Horror story,” he began his remarks while announcing charges for the case. “Little Scotty McMillan is dead.”
“He was punched in the face and in the stomach, he was scourged with a homemade whip, he was lashed with a metal rod, he was tied to a chair and beaten, he was tied upside down by his feet and beaten, his head was smashed through a wall and at the end of that he had bruises on top of bruises all over his body.”
In one incident where the three-year-old boy was hung upside down he is said to have attempted to break free, which authorities said the couple thought was “funny”.
Police only learned of the abuse after the couple called paramedics after the child stopped being responsive.
Initially the couple are said to have placed the boy in the shower for half an hour. When he did not respond, they are alleged to have laid him on an air mattress, gone car shopping, had sex, and had a nap.
It was only after the boy was still unresponsive that they called the emergency services, prosecutors said.
The couple also had the care of another 6-year-old son, who is also said to have been abused. The older child is now under the care of relatives. The couple are in custody and have been refused bail.
Chester County is one of the most affluent areas of the United States. The couple are said to have met at the superstore Wal Mart, where they both worked.
Police also charged Amber Fellenbaum, Mr Fellenbaum’s estranged wife, with child endangerment for failing to help the abused children.