Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that William Alphonso Warr, age 26, was indicted* last Friday afternoon by the Dakota County Grand Jury for the following crimes in connection with the death of four year old Key’ontay Miller Peterson on June 11, 2013:
1. Murder in the First Degree (While Committing Child Abuse: Assault in the First Degree).
2. Murder in the First Degree (While Committing Child Abuse: Malicious Punishment of a Child).
3. Murder in the First Degree (While Committing Child Abuse: Neglect of a Child).
[These first three charges also require proof of a past pattern of child abuse committed either upon the victim in this case or any other child and the victim’s death being caused under circumstances manifesting in extreme indifference to human life.]
4. Murder in the First Degree (While Committing Domestic Abuse).
[This charge also requires proof of a past pattern of domestic abuse by the defendant and the victim’s death being caused under circumstances manifesting in extreme indifference to human life.]
5. Murder in the Second Degree (While Committing a Felony: Assault in the First Degree).
6. Murder in the Second Degree (While Committing a Felony: Malicious Punishment of a Child).
7. Murder in the Second Degree (While Committing a Felony: Neglect of a Child).
8. Murder in the Second Degree (While Inflicting Bodily Harm Upon a Person Protected by an Order for Protection).
Backstrom said that this indictment did not become public until Warr made his first court appearance on these charges today. Key’ontay Miller Peterson was the son of a woman with whom Warr had an ongoing relationship despite the existence of an Order for Protection prohibiting Warr from having contact with the victim, his mother and his two year old brother.
Backstrom indicated that the law enforcement investigation in this case revealed the following:
On June 11, 2013, Burnsville police officers and paramedics responded to an apartment on a report that a four year old boy was not breathing. When paramedics arrived, they found Key’ontay Miller Peterson, age 4, laying on the floor of his bedroom. Medics determined that Key’ontay Miller Peterson was deceased. Also present inside the home was Key’ontay’s mother, his two year old brother, and eight month old sister. Warr was the father of the eight month old girl, but was not the father of the victim or his brother.
As officers arrived in the apartment complex parking lot, a vehicle that was attempting to leave the lot struck the side of the garage. An officer spoke with the male driver in the lot who claimed that the ‘sick” four-year-old was his stepson and he needed to get to the hospital. When asked for the keys to the vehicle the male fled on foot, but was apprehended by officers when he tripped and fell a short distance from the townhouse complex. This male gave police a false name but was later identified as William Alphonso Warr.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Key’ontay Miller Peterson and ruled that his death resulted from complications caused by blunt force injuries to his abdomen and chest, and the manner of death was determined to be homicide. The Medical Examiner also found that the victim had multiple bruises on his head, face, arms, chest and back and also had eight broken ribs, breaks which occurred on at least two different occasions.
In subsequent interviews, Key’ontay’s mother told officers that Key’ontay had been sick since June 6, 2013. She explained that he had been complaining of stomach pain and had flu like symptoms. The mother stated that just before she called 911 she had tried to give Key’ontay a bath to bring down his fever. While bathing Key’ontay, Miller stated that he lost consciousness and stopped breathing. Miller also told investigators that she had been physically assaulted on multiple occasions by Warr.
Warr admitted to police that he was in the apartment with Key’ontay when he died. Warr also admitted to physically disciplining Key’ontay, but denied that he was responsible for Key’ontay’s death. An investigation performed by the Burnsville Police determined that Warr had been previously convicted of two different domestic assault offenses.
Subsequent investigation also revealed that in February of 2012, a daycare employee had observed an injury to the back of Key’ontay’s head. At that time Key’ontay told the employee that the injury was from Warr “whooping” him. In May of 2013, while alone in the upstairs of the apartment with Warr, Key’ontay sustained a black eye. Warr told Key’ontay’s mother that the boy had hit his eye on a toy box. However, Key’ontay had told another family member that Warr “whooped” him, causing him to fall and hurt his eye.
A copy of the indictment can be found at Criminal Complaint Search
. If in
custody, a mug shot can be viewed at Inmate Search
Backstrom commented: “These charges reflect allegations that this was intentional child and domestic abuse that tragically claimed the life of a defenseless child, under circumstances that manifested an extreme indifference to human life and involved a past pattern of child and domestic abuse. Our deep sympathy is extended to the young victim’s family.”
Backstrom thanked the Burnsville Police Department, the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension who assisted in the investigation of this case.
William Warr made his first appearance on the charges returned in this indictment today. Bail was set in the amount of $1,000,000 with no conditions or $750,000 with conditions, although Warr is currently in custody in state prison for his conviction of violating the Order for Protection involved in this case. Warr’s next court appearance in connection with these charges will be on April 29, 2014, at 9 a.m. in Hastings.
If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.
*Criminal charges are not evidence of guilt. A defendant/suspect is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.