Mom takes plea deal in boy's beating death

LAS VEGAS -- The mother of a 7-year-old Las Vegas boy who died after being severely beaten in November 2012 has agreed to plead guilty.

According to court records, Dina Palmer agreed to plead to child abuse, neglect or endangerment with substantial bodily harm in the death of her son Roderick "RJ" Arrington.

She also agreed to testify against her husband, the boy's stepfather, Markiece Palmer.

Prosecutors say the Palmers beat the boy for lying about reading a Bible chapter. The arrest report stated RJ had extensive injuries, including bruises, cuts and abrasions on his body. There was also evidence of previous abuse. He ultimately died from a swollen brain.

The case caused controversy because employees at Roundy Elementary School, where the boy went to school, said they had called Clark County Child Protective Services to report suspicions that he was being abused; however, a worker at CPS made RJ's case a priority 2, which meant a CPS worker must respond with 24 hours. A priority 1 would have required someone to check on the boy within two hours.

According to police, RJ was severely beaten 12 hours after the hotline call was made. The CPS worker who took the call was fired but later reinstated when an arbitrator ruled he was not responsible for the boy's death.

The Clark County School District changed its policy regarding child abuse following the case and retrained staff about how to respond to abuse.


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