A Nevada man who allegedly murdered his girlfriend’s young son and abused the boy’s mother could face the death penalty if he is convicted, the Associated Press reports.
Prosecutors in Las Vegas have charged 36-year-old Brandon Lee Toseland with murder, kidnapping, child abuse and domestic battery by strangulation in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son.
Earlier this month, the state filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty in the case.
Authorities arrested Toseland in February after police found the boy’s body in a freezer. The gruesome discovery was prompted by the child’s sister, who reportedly alerted a teacher that her mother was being held against her will at home.
Toseland has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled for trial in December.
The boy’s mother has alleged that Toseland physically, sexually and emotionally abused her, and she has not been criminally charged in connection with her son’s death.
The mother did sue Toseland for wrongful death and negligence in March. In a response to that suit, Toseland alleged that the mother knew the child died in December 2021 and that she agreed to help preserve the boy’s body, a claim her lawyer has denied.
Investigators concluded that the boy died from blunt force injuries and observed evidence of physical abuse on his body, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.
The mother told police that Toseland controlled her cellphone and wound bind or tie her up. When they left their home, he would allegedly handcuff her in the vehicle and prevent her from moving, the newspaper reports.
The father of the boy died in January 2021. The mother testified to a grand jury that she and her two kids moved in with Toseland two months later and that he grew possessive and controlling.
Loved ones of the child described him as “happy, sweet, intelligent, very outgoing,” the newspaper reports.