EXCLUSIVE: Family of toddler killed over potty training incident: “Everybody loved him”

Mobile County
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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A Mobile County judge denies a motion to reduce bond for a man accused of killing his girlfriend’s toddler.

Prosecutors say Willie Burton beat 2-year old Kye Freeman during a potty training incident last summer.

Kye’s mother, Keijon Hoyt, was too emotional to go on camera Thursday, but she tells News 5 she wants everyone to see her son’s face.

For Hoyt and the rest of her family, it’s hard to understand why such a loving little boy was taken too soon.

“How could any human being, man or woman, do this to a child? Kye was innocent. everybody loved him. He smiled and hugged everybody. There wasn’t a bad bone in his body,” Freeman’s godmother, Scarlett Rodriguez tells News 5. 

In August, investigators say his mother’s boyfriend, Willie Burton, beat him because he would not sit on the toilet for potty training.

Less than two days later, he died from his injuries.

Thursday morning, Burton stood in front of Kye’s mother and her family in court at Government Plaza.  

Judge Joe Basenberg denied a motion to reduce his bond.

It’s a move Assistant District Attorney Keith Blackwood is happy with. “I think it’s appropriate for the safety of the community and other children that Mr. Burton remain incarcerated pending further action by the grand jury.”

Burton’s attorney, Jeff Deen, says his client did put his hands on Kye at a home on Elmo Avenue last summer.  But he says it wasn’t enough to seriously harm him. “Spanking somebody on their bottom because they’re not sitting on the toilet like you want them to is one thing but hitting them in other places on the body, he didn’t do that.”

Kye’s autopsy revealed something violent was done to him. It showed brain hemorrhaging, a lacerated kidney and his stomach was even separated from his small intestines.

“That’s the part that hurts the most is knowing we can’t bring him back and that he had to pass the way he did. He had to go through the pain that he did and he didn’t deserve that. Kye didn’t deserve any of that,” said Rodriguez. 

Burton remains in Metro Jail with the same 250-thousand dollar bond that was set months ago.

He is scheduled to be back in court on July 15th.

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