Father Beats 3 Year Old Son To Death Over Toilet Training Frustrations

Indrani Sengupta
There's parental negligence and then there's mindless, murderous indifference.

He picked him up “like a rag doll” and struck him on the head.

Texas Resident Anthony Powell has been charged with the death of his 3-year old son, Tristan Powell.

Tristan’s mother told the police that Powell had picked up their child in mid-May, with the intention of “[getting] to know his son better.”

The statement seems ominous in retrospect.

Powell took his son to live with him and his sister, Prosha Land. A probable cause document makes note of Land’s statements to the police, that “Tristan was not ‘potty trained’ and that [Powell] had disciplined Tristan for many ‘accidents’ beginning on May 10, 2015.”

Prosha Land

Anthony became increasingly upset as his ill-advised methods failed to garner results.

Land told the police that Powell struck her nephew on repeated occasions following such “accidents.” She was also witness to the most recent, and final, attack.

The document relates how she saw her brother strike Tristan, only to pick him up “like a rag doll” and continue to strike him. Eventually, Powell struck his son “so hard on the head with his [open] hand that [the boy] was knocked over,” upon which his “head struck the file flooring” in the bathroom of Land’s apartment.”

“It made a loud sound, which indicated to her that his head struck the tile in a very violent manner.”

But neither Land nor Powell moved to check the boy for injuries, or take him to the hospital, in the immediate aftermath, not even when Tristan told his aunt “that he was sleepy,” which led her to notice that he was behaving differently.

Anthony Powell

Land was afraid that if Tristan went to sleep he would never wake up. Still, she did not press on. In the morning of May 28th she was woken by her brother with the news that Tristan wasn’t breathing. Only then was the child taken to Texas Children’s Hospital. The boy died the next day.

Prosecutor Connie Spence adds a chilling dimension to this story, noting that Powell behaved “fairly nonchalant.” If true, then we have a case of not only a negligent and abusive parent, but of one who may have actively sought to do his child permanent harm.

“In fact, according to witnesses, he was counting his money as he was riding to the hospital in the ambulance.”

Powell has been charged with capital murder. For her complicity, Powell, too, has been charged, but with the lesser offense of injury to a child.

Read more: Kid Taken From Pot Smoking Parents, Killed By Abusive Foster Mom