A Virginia mother whose 8-year-old son was brutally murdered as he tried to protect his sister from being raped revealed on Monday more horrific details of the night she lost her brave boy.
Sharain Spruill recounted the horrifying moment on May 1 when a 16-year-old boy carried her bloody daughter, 12, to her home claiming she and little Marty Cobb had been attacked by a white man.
But it was that same boy, whose name has not been released, who’s now been formally charged with strangling Marty and beating him to death, possibly with a brick.
The new details came Monday as Spruill addressed reporters and community members outside the Richmond house Marty once called home and described her daughter’s horrified tears as she revealed the boy was dead. Family and friends say are hailing Martin as a hero, saying he tried to protect his big sister. ‘As soon as he could talk, I told (him) he’s the man of the house. That’s what he did. He’s a hero,’ his mother told The Associated Press. ‘I told him he’s the man of the house.’ His mother, sitting on the front steps of her home, said her son was a second grader and “a mama’s boy” who didn’t talk much to other people. His tiny stature masked a fighting spirit, she said. A few feet away in the front yard, a memorial carried that message, saying in part: “A Real Hero Lived, Fought and Died Here.” The wooden sign was draped with the boy’s parka, surrounded by stuffed animals and toys. His mother said her son had open-heart surgery when he was 3 months old and doctors said he wasn’t going to make it. Neighbor Andrew Patillo, said the boy looked more like he was 4 or 5 years old. ‘He had a big heart to be that small,’ Patillo said.
She said she was sitting outside her Richmond home Thursday when a 16-year-old neighbor walked into the front yard carrying her daughter, weeping and wearing only a T-shirt, on his back. The teenager, who is black, told her a white man had attacked the girl.
The girl also initially blamed a white man and said he had raped her.
The boy appeared at an initial court hearing on Monday in which a judge deemed he would remain in custody.
While he’s currently being detained as a juvenile, he will likely be tried as an adult.
Martin Cobb was reportedly hit in the head with a brick during the attack near their home on Thursday, neighbors told The Richmond Times Dispatch.
Richmond Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary E. Langer said she could not confirm a brick was used but police told her Martin suffered severe head trauma.
The 12-year-old girl was taken to a hospital, but her injuries were not released by police.
‘As far as I know, she’s doing fine. She’s doing better. She’s OK,’ the siblings’ aunt Geraldine Pitchford told the newspaper.
The alleged attacker was yesterday charged with murder and strangulation, police said in a news release.
Authorities said he intimidated and threatened the girl and she initially gave authorities the wrong description of her attacker.
Police did not immediately return a telephone message from The Associated Press.
Authorities were not identifying the teen because of his age. The AP also generally does not identify juveniles charged with crimes.
Pitchford described Martin as warm-hearted and friendly and said he was often playing with his sister outside.
‘I’m proud of him. I’m proud that he stuck up for his sister. He did what he was taught,’ she said.
Pastor Dr. Theodore L. Hughey of the Abundant Life church said the boy, also known as ‘Marty’ and ‘Little Martin,’and his sister were inseparable and ‘always in and out’ of the church. ‘You saw one. The other was there. They were never apart,’ Hughey said.
Hundreds of people attended a vigil for Martin on Saturday night.
‘He had a heart of a lion,’ said neighbor Andrew Patillo. ‘He stood so tall, to be so small.’
Before the vigil began, loved ones gathered around a sign in Martin’s yard near the church.
‘Martin: A real hero lived, fought and died here,’ the sign said.