Baltimore police charged a 21-year-old man yesterday with the beating death of his girlfriend's 19-month-old child.
Detective Richard F. Garvey of the city homicide unit said Charles G. Watson was arrested at his home in the 2400 block of Lakeview Avenue and taken to police headquarters, where he was charged with first-degree murder.
He was later taken to the Central District lockup for a bail hearing, police said.
The baby, Brandon Lee Hall, was found unconscious on a bed and was taken to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:30 a.m., the police said.
Dr. Frank J. Peretti of the state medical examiner's office said an autopsy revealed that the infant's death was a homicide and that he had died of multiple blunt-force injuries.
Detective Garvey said the baby's injuries were to his head and torso and had been inflicted by someone's fists.
The police said they were summoned to the Lakeview home about 6:30 a.m. after Mr. Watson telephoned 911 and reported a sick baby. Paramedics found the infant lying on the bed unconscious and wearing only a diaper.
Mr. Watson told investigators that he had put the infant on the bed and then took a shower. He said when he returned, the baby was unconscious.
The police said that Mr. Watson then telephoned the baby's mother, Ramona M. Hall, 22, who had left the house about 5 a.m. to go to work at a fast-food restaurant on Howard Street.
Detective Garvey said murder charges were lodged against Mr. Watson because he "was present at the scene and made several statements to the officers and paramedics which did not fit with the crime scene." The detective declined to elaborate.
Residents of the Lakeview Avenue neighborhood, just off Druid Hill Park, said Mr. Watson had moved into the three-story apartment building with his girlfriend sometime this year.
Neighbors said he tended to keep to himself.
A woman who lived in the same apartment building said Ms. Hall had told her she was pregnant with Mr. Watson's child. The resident, who described herself as Ms. Hall's friend, said she had offered to lend Ms. Hall some maternity clothes.
The friend, who asked not to be identified, said Mr. Watson had been baby-sitting for the child since Ms. Hall started her job about two weeks ago.