Clarke mother, stepfather indicted in torture of boy

ATHENS, Ga. -- A Clarke County grand jury has charged a man and woman with 17 felonies for allegedly torturing the woman's son by locking him naked and handcuffed in a closet, shooting him with a pellet gun and subjecting him to other forms of abuse.


Damita Devonna Peak, the victim's mother, was charged with eight counts of aggravated assault, five counts of first-degree child cruelty and four counts of false imprisonment.

The indictment returned Tuesday charges the victim's mother, Damita Devonna Peak, and stepfather, Norris Lazarus Walker, each with eight counts of aggravated assault, five counts of first-degree child cruelty and four counts of false imprisonment.

The state Department of Family and Children Services placed the victim and his younger brother with a foster family after authorities in Oconee County arrested the parents last Dec. 11, a few weeks after they moved from Athens to Bogart.

The Athens Banner-Herald didn't publish Walker and Peak's name last year in order to protect the victim's identity, but this week's indictment shows the boy doesn't have the same last name as either his mother or stepfather.

Authorities opened the case a year ago Friday, when a 6-year-old boy told his teacher in Oconee County that his parents were abusing his brother, then 12. School officials immediately notified authorities, and deputies arrested Walker and Peak that afternoon.

The victim's body, including his genitals, was riddled with more than 100 wounds from pellets fired from a gun at close range, officials said.

Walker and Peak shot him in the closet where, they handcuffed him naked to a clothes bar and left him a pail to use as a toilet, officials said. They also pepper-sprayed him, according to authorities.

Peak briefly was employed as a jailer in Walton County and had handcuffs and pepper spray, said Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry.

The boy remained locked in the closet for "significant" periods of time, officials said, and when the couple let him out they tied him up in other parts of the house and made him sleep on the kitchen floor.

The boy drew pictures to show investigators how he was abused, including an image of a child facing a wall on his knees, handcuffed and tied, officials said.

The stepfather admitted to investigators that he punished the boy for, among other things, taking a can of corn to eat, according to the sheriff.

An Oconee County grand jury indicted Walker and Peak in February, each on five counts of false imprisonment and child cruelty, and two counts of aggravated assault.

Jurors charged the victim's mother with two additional counts of aggravated assault.

The Clarke County grand jury indicted Walker and Peak for similar crimes, and added that the couple made the victim stand in a corner with his arms extended "for excessive and continuous periods of time."

The couple made the young victim suffer "cruel and excessive physical and emotional pain," according to the indictment.

Peak and Walker moved from Florida to Georgia, but officials are not sure when, or how long, they lived in Athens. Investigators learned they lived in Loganville in June 2006, and that Peak worked as a Walton County jailer for about five months.



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