Andrez Martina was charged Tuesday with killing his 12-year-old grandson, Andre Smith II, after becoming enraged by missing money. The 54-year-old Milwaukee man reportedly used a sledgehammer, a mallet, and a coat rack to bludgeon his grandson to death on Sunday – repeatedly beating him for 90 minutes.
According to a criminal complaint from the State of Wisconsin, Andrez Martina is charged with one count of first-degree intentional homicide, one count of physical abuse of a child and repeated acts causing death, and one count of neglecting a child. Martina was also charged with physical abuse of a child and possession of a firearm by a felon.
The incident occurred on Aug. 29 at 4630 North 46 Street in Milwaukee, the criminal complaint stated. At around 9:35 a.m., Thomas Delaney, a police officer for the Milwaukee Police Department responded to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to investigate a child abuse case. Delaney saw Andre Smith II being rushed into the emergency room with “white gauze that was soaked through with blood.”
At 10:15 a.m. the 12-year-old grandson was pronounced dead. An investigation revealed that Andre Smith’s grandmother and legal guardian, Illysha McCroy, allowed him to sleep over at Andrez Martina’s house on Aug. 28. The next morning, McCroy, her daughter Nia, and Nia’s boyfriend, Anthony Anderson, went to check up on the children at Martina’s home.
There they found Andre Smith II in a bloodied heap on the floor with Andrez Martina dragging the unconscious body from the bathroom to the kitchen. The family recalled the horrific scene, telling police that there was brain matter on the kitchen floor and walls. Andre Smith’s “head looked ripped open with the skull exposed,” the criminal complaint stated.
Anthony Anderson carried the bloodied boy to the car and rushed him to Saint Joseph’s Hospital, where doctors attempted to stabilize him. He was then transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin where he was pronounced dead. According to Illysha McCroy, the grandmother received a text message from Andrez Martina, who accused her grandson of stealing his money. McCroy asked Martina where her grandson was, to which he responded: “he’s bleeding.” That was when McCroy “panicked” and drove to Martina’s home.
In a statement from Cassandra Martina, the boy’s great-grandmother, the suspect struck Andre Smith II “with a hammer all over [his] body, including the head and back.” Cassandra Martina claimed that “the defendant beat [his grandson] for an hour to an hour and a half.” It was noted that the great-grandmother was disabled, making it difficult for her to intervene.
According to the suspect, Martina woke up at around 3:00 a.m. Sunday to find his wallet open. He claimed it was missing money and blamed the two boys. Both Andre Smith II and an 8-year-old boy – who was also sleeping over the house – denied the allegations. They reportedly turned their pockets inside out to show that they were empty.
That is when Andrez Martina began to beat his 12-year-old grandson. He then tried to wash off the blood in the shower, to no avail. He told investigators on Monday that he had returned to Milwaukee specifically because he “wanted to reconnect with his grandchildren.”
The criminal complaint stated that Martina had previously warned the kids about stealing. Smith reportedly “had a problem stealing.” Martina then told his grandchildren that “if you lie, if you mess up in school, if you steal, I’m going to kill you.”
If convicted, Andrez Martina faces life in prison and a $225,000 fine. It wasn’t immediately clear if Martina had legal representation.
According to the victim’s grandmother, Illysha McCroy, Andre Smith II had a rough childhood and was seeing therapists for the past year. “I was gradually getting him back to trying to be a kid,” she told reporters. “He was that light in a dark place, even though he had a rough childhood. He was just bright. I don’t see how people can harm kids period, but especially not Andre. That smile he had was so infectious.”