TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Tallahassee woman accused of beating a toddler to death with a tire iron has been indicted on first-degree murder charges.
Te’lea Jefferson pleaded not guilty to the upgraded charges Thursday morning.
Jefferson was arrested in October 2020 after taking the child to the emergency room with cuts to his face and forehead. According to court records, she initially told police her girlfriend's 3-year-old son, Miguel, fell off a sink while brushing his teeth and hit his head on the toilet, shattering the porcelain.
"The initial information provided to doctors indicated the toddler fell at home. However, the victim’s injuries and evidence at the scene did not appear to be consistent with that version of events," TPD wrote in a press release.
Court records show she later admitted to hitting him with a tire iron, admitting that the child had "angered her" by refusing to get down from the sink.
“Jefferson said that she walked into the bedroom and retrieved the tire iron from a tool kit," arrest documents read. "She advised that she returned to the bathroom and threw the tire iron at [the child], striking him upon the side of the face.”
Eventually, documents said Jefferson admitted to repeatedly beating the child with a tire iron on his head and body even as he tried to run away from her.
Miguel's older brother, who's 6 years old, went with DCF after investigators found older signs of bruising and scars on Miguel.
Officers say Jefferson admitted she hit both boys.
A grand jury returned the first-degree murder indictment, as well as one for aggravated child abuse, on Wednesday.
In October, state prosecutors filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Jefferson.