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Affidavit Reveals Painful Last Moments In Bartlesville Boy's Life

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Mug of Joshua Benton [Washington County jail] Mug of Joshua Benton [Washington County jail]

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma -- Newly released court documents reveal more details into the death of a 3-year-old Bartlesville boy.

On Friday, Joshua Benton was charged with murdering Christian Norris, the son of his live-in girlfriend.

12/9/2010 Related story: Man Accused In Death Of 3-Year-Old Bartlesville Boy Expected In Court Friday

An affidavit filed in Washington County paints a painful picture of Christian Norris's last moments.

On Tuesday, Bartlesville police were called to this home in the 400 block of Northwest Aledo because 3-year-old Christian wasn't breathing. The boy later died at the hospital.

Christian's mother and her boyfriend Joshua Benton told investigators that Christian was ill and throwing up most of the night before he died.

Hospital workers saw no obvious signs of injuries or abuse on Christian's body. But the autopsy revealed a much different story -- broken bones and internal injuries.

When police questioned Benton, the affidavit states he admitted to "using force" on Christian Monday night.

Christian's official cause of death was complications from a lower back fracture due to blunt force trauma.

Authorities believe Benton was holding Christian and trying to calm him down because he was fussy when Benton suddenly bent the child backwards, snapping his back and causing the fracture.

The affidavit says the force Benton described was consistent with the autopsy findings.

"We are basically preparing for trial and that trial will occur before twelve jurors and so we're going to defer to them to see how egregious this really is," said Bartlesville Police Chief Thomas Holland.

Assistant District Attorney Will Drake is working the case and said in a statement:

This is shocking and it takes a lot to surprise me in my job. Of course we have crime, crime is going to happen, but this is not Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It's not representative at all.

Benton was denied bond Friday. He's being held in another county, because Benton had been working at the Washington County jail until his arrest on Wednesday.

As for the mother, Shannon Hicks, authorities believe she was running errands when Christian was injured.

A memorial fund has been set up for Christian Norris. Donations can be made to the Norris Tragedy Fund at:

OK Federal Credit Union
3900 Southeast Adams Road
Bartlesville, OK 74006-8407

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