Wisconsin man reportedly punched, killed 5-year-old for eating Father's Day cake
A Wisconsin man fatally punched his 5-year-old son after the child angered him by eating his Father's Day cake, prosecutors said.
Travis Stackhouse, 29, of Milwaukee, faces one count of first-degree reckless homicide after the child died on June 22, according to WITI. Police had arrived at Stackhouse's home around 3 a.m. that day after they received a report of a sick and injured individual, a criminal complaint noted.
Law enforcement reportedly found the child with bruising to both eyes, a cut across his lip and a laceration to his sternum. The 5-year-old also had cuts on his back.
Stackhouse, who has four other children with his girlfriend, initially wove an intricate story about his son's injuries, the complaint noted. He told authorities that he was at home with his children the day before, when his son and another child were playing Nerf basketball upstairs. Stackhouse claimed he then saw his son "somersaulting down the stairwell" but that the 5-year-old appeared to be fine afterwards.
A while later, the child started vomiting, Stackhouse said. At one point, the father added he stepped out of the house to hang out with friends, only to return to a concerned girlfriend who said something was wrong with his son. Stackhouse admitted, in the criminal complaint, that he had earlier been angry at the 5-year-old and two other children for eating his Father's Day cake but denied ever hitting him.
Police, however, were skeptical of Stackhouse's account after an autopsy revealed that the child suffered blunt force trauma. They ultimately determined that the child's death was a homicide and interviewed Stackhouse again.
The complaint noted that the father stuck with his original story at first but eventually admitted to punching his son over the cake. Upon being questioned a second time, Stackhouse said he had had one slice of his Father's Day cake and “was upset that others were eating it.”
The child's older brother purportedly confirmed the assault to police.