THE BRONX - The teenager accused of fatally beating his girlfriend's son took the stand in his own defense Thursday.
Jose Calderon faces second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter charges. Prosecutors claim he beat 4-year-old Quachaun Brown over three days last January in the couple's Norwood apartment after the boy knocked over a television.
Calderon told the court he never beat Brown. In fact, he said the child's mother, Aleisha Smith, abused the boy. The testimony contradicted Calderon's videotaped and written statements to police in which he admitted to beating the child. However, Calderon now says police coerced him to confess.
Calderon's testimony also contradicts earlier testimony from Brown's older sister who said she witnessed the defendant beat her brother. A medical examiner also testified that Brown suffered bleeding around his brain and had a severed liver and pancreas.
Smith is serving up to four years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter. She has apologized for not calling 911 to help her son. Smith's other children are living with her mother.
The Administration for Children's Services had been investigating the couple before the death.