ALBION, N.Y. — Four-year-old Devante Boston was beaten so badly 17 years ago it put him in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. He died in 2018 and a medical examiner found the cause of death was that beating. The man convicted of his beating is serving time for assault and recently pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
The family says those 17 years when Devante was in a vegetative state were tough on them. But they say this isn’t about them. It’s about Devante and all the other kids who are victims of child abuse.
“His whole body was full of bruises from his head all the way to his toes, front, back, sides,” said Winters.
Phyllis Winters remembers that sight from May 2002 like it was yesterday. It was the day she found out her great-nephew had a serious brain injury. Devante lived but he was never able to walk or talk again.
“It was 17 years that he suffered seizures, he suffered the pain, he was always fed with a G tube, he couldn’t eat or drink, he couldn’t sit up by himself he was always in the wheelchair or his bed.”
Devante died in 2018 and David Ricks is still in jail for the assault. Devante’s mother was dating Ricks at the time. Last month, Ricks pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
“I guess basically the trust was broken in that we’ll never understand why it all had to come down to this where we told her that we would do whatever we could do to help the situation but that’s out of our hands it was in her hands,” Winters said.
She said she wants other people to get help if they think a child they know is being abused.
“We were hoping Devante would get into kindergarten but that didn’t happen. We were hoping if he got into the school system we would get the right answer but it was too late. There is a time or place that you could go out and go get some help. It’s out there all you have to do is make a phone call,” Winters said.
Ricks will be sentenced in March and the district attorney on the case said he will ask for the maximum sentence. Ricks is currently serving time in Attica and could serve up to 25 years minus time already served.