Travis E. Stackhouse, a father of five, was convicted of murder for fatally punching his 5-year-old son, allegedly over a piece of Father’s Day cheesecake in 2019.
The 30-year-old pled guilty on Wednesday to second-degree reckless homicide, child abuse, and child neglect of his son Sir Amer Stackhouse. The guilty plea came after two days of testimony at the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, and was made following an agreement to lesson the charge to second-degree reckless homicide opposed to the original charge of first-degree reckless homicide.
Back in June 2019, Stackhouse originally called police after his son supposedly fell down the stairs. According to reports obtained by The Washington Post, police officers responded to a 911 call about the accident, but by the time they arrived, the Milwaukee Fire Department was already performing CPR on the boy. Tragically, he died on scene.
At the time, Travis told officers Sir Amer had fallen down the stairs and been fine immediately afterwards. Later that day, the child complained “his tummy hurt.” He vomited before watching cartoons, but medical attention still wasn’t sought out. Instead, Travis went to a bar with friends before arriving home at 2 a.m. to a worried girlfriend insisting “something was wrong” with the child. That’s when he called 911.
The dad did not admit to hurting the boy until much later on in the investigation when a 6-year-old brother told officers he had seen his father hit Sir Amer “with a closed fist.” Signs of child abuse were also noted on scene by paramedics, such as Sir Amer’s bruised eye, cut on his lower lip, and lacerated sternum that were injuries not consistent with falling down the stairs. After being confronted with the 6-year-old’s version of the story, the father admitted he had punched his son in the stomach and across the face using the back of his hand which had a metal rod in it. The beating came after he witnessed three of his children (including the now deceased child) eat his Father’s Day cheesecake — which made him mad because he had only had one piece of it. SMH…
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office soon declared the child had a “ruptured stomach, bruised kidneys, and a torn adrenal gland,” according to court documents. Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Douglas Kelley’s autopsy report concluded Sir Amer’s death was the result of the “blunt force trauma to the abdomen.” And all over a cheesecake which could have been easily replaced!
Authorities arrested Travis the next day. He expressed at this time that his GF had warned him “not [to] hit the children so hard.” Sadly, it doesn’t seem like the allegedly abusive father had much love for the kids because while he was their main caretaker, he didn’t know any of their birthdays or how to spell their names!
Stackhouse’s defense attorney recently spoke with The Washington Post, denying allegations that the murder was due to the dessert, claiming it could not be the motive of the crime because it “was never discovered” in court. While the 6-year-old brother was supposed to appear in court as a witness, another District Attorney said Stackhouse’s defense requested the prosecution play a videotaped interview with investigators instead. The video was a recorded confession of the defendant admitting to fatally punching his child. After it played, Stackhouse asked his attorney to speak to his mother, who was in the gallery, before pleading guilty.
The defendant now faces up to 37 years in prison. A sentencing hearing is set for June 29. Wow… what a senseless act of violence.