A Milwaukee grandfather was charged on Tuesday with bludgeoning to death his grandson. He killed his grandson after accusing him of stealing money from his wallet.
The homicide occurred in the 4600 block of North 46th Street. Andrez Martina, 54, used a sledgehammer, mallet and coat rack to beat Andre Smith II for up to 90 minutes, according to The Associated Press. Smith subsequently died on Sunday at a Milwaukee hospital and the cause of death is listed as multiple blunt force injuries to the head.
Grandfather Blamed the Child for Stealing His Money
According to a criminal complaint, Smith, 12, and his brother were staying at Martina's house. Martina allegedly asked to have the boys sleep over so they could get school supplies the next morning.
Martina told police he woke up about 3 a.m. Sunday to find his wallet open and money missing. The victim denied taking the money and turned his pockets inside out to show they were empty. Martina told officials that's when he smacked his grandson repeatedly, demanding Smith get his money.
Investigators say Martina attempted to use belts to hit Smith. Smith was able to, at one point, run outside and that's when investigators say Martina dragged the boy back into the house and continued to beat him with his mother's wooden cane, according to WDJT-TV station.
The complaint said that after he beat the boy, Martina took the child into the shower and attempted to rinse off his blood, FOX 6 reported.
Martina learned that Smith "had a problem stealing" and he recalled telling his grandchildren previously, "if you lie, if you mess up in school, if you steal, I'm going to kill you," reported Fox News.
Martina Also Admitted to Killing a Boy in 1989
Martina is charged in Milwaukee County with five counts, including first-degree intentional homicide and physical abuse of a child with repeated acts causing death. During an interview with detectives, Martina allegedly admitted to another murder that happened in 1989.
Milwaukee Witnessing an Increase in Homicide Cases
Along with many other U.S. cities, Milwaukee is experiencing a surge in homicides this summer. City and community leaders have urged residents to resolve conflicts peacefully and to make use of resources from violence prevention organizations such as gun locks and domestic abuse hotlines, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Social Media Reactions
Many people on social media expressed shock over this tragic incident. One internet user wrote, "I don't understand how a grandparent could hurt their own grandchild." Another wrote: "This is an eye for an eye moment! Sledgehammer moment. Let him feel exactly what he did to his grandson."
One comment read: "Here it is again. Another act of Hammer Violence. Ban all hammers. Only Carpenters who can pass a background check can get a permit to purchase and use a hammer. If you need something nailed you will have to call 911 and they will send a Carpenter to hammer your nail."
Another comment read: "They don't have the death penalty in Wisconsin so they can't really punish him appropriately. Free room and board, medical care and legal services is not much of a punishment for killing a child with a hammer. A 12 foot drop with an 8 foot rope tied around his neck would be just about right."