Man Accused In Death Of 3-Year-Old Bartlesville Boy Expected In Court Friday

Thursday, December 9th 2010, 9:59 am
By: News On 6

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma -- A Bartlesville man was arrested Wednesday in connection with the death of a three-year-old boy.

Joshua Benton is being is being held in the Washington County jail on a complaint of first degree murder in the death of three-year-old Christian Norris.

According to the State Medical Examiner's office, Norris died from complications from a lower back fracture due to blunt force trauma.

Police were called to the home in the 400 block of NW Aledo Tuesday afternoon on the report of a child not breathing.  The boy was taken to a Bartlesville hospital where he died. 

"It's always tough when there's a child involved," Chief Thomas Holland, Bartlesville Police Department.

Police Chief Thomas Holland says that Benton and the victim were not related. The chief says he brought Benton in for questioning and Benton was arrested at the police station.

"That arrest follows a very intense investigation conducted by both patrol officers, but mostly the detectives," Chief Holland said.

Chief Holland won't comment on much more than those facts.

"This is a serious crime, we are working with the District Attorney," he said. "We want to make sure we dot all of our "i's" and cross all our "t's."

The Washington County Sheriff confirms that Benton had been working as a detention officer at the county jail for the last month.

Benton was fired following his arrest on Wednesday. On Benton's Myspace page, he explains that he's in the United States Air Force Reserve and calls himself a typical guy and "bottle up my problems, rarely talk to people about them."

Meanwhile, the police chief says investigating child deaths takes its toll.

"You can't help but be emotional, but you don't let those emotions cloud what you have to do," he said.

Benton is expected to be charged with first degree murder Friday afternoon.

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

(918) 335-1844