No deals reported in boy’s beating death

Photo provided by East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office -- Lavaughn Riley, left, and Michael Robertson are suspects in the death of their 8-year-old son, Xzayvion Riley.
Photo provided by East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office -- Lavaughn Riley, left, and Michael Robertson are suspects in the death of their 8-year-old son, Xzayvion Riley.

No deals have been made in the first-degree murder case against Xzayvion Riley’s parents in the June beating death of the 8-year-old Baton Rouge boy, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Attorneys for Michael Anthony Robertson, the boy’s father, filed a motion last week asking state District Judge Don Johnson to order the state to reveal any “incentives, deals or understandings” it may have with Lavaughn Riley, the boy’s mother and Robertson’s co-defendant, or any witness.

“The state has made no agreements with any potential witness at this time,” East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Will Morris wrote Tuesday in a response to the defense motion. “The state is aware of its obligation and will file supplemental disclosures if and when appropriate.”

James Craig, one of Robertson’s attorneys, stated during a court hearing Tuesday that the defense motion to “reveal the deal” is a general motion filed in all capital murder cases. The request refers to any deals, whether explicit or implicit, he said.

“I’m aware of my obligation and my continuing obligation,” Morris assured Craig and Johnson.

Another Robertson motion, which was joined Tuesday by Riley, asked that subpoenas be issued to Pierson’s Brilliant Minds Learning Academy — which Xzayvion had attended from March until his death in June — to produce various records.

Johnson granted that motion and ordered the records turned over to the court by Nov. 29, when the judge will hold a bond hearing for Robertson.

Riley has not asked for a bond hearing.

Both are being held without bond on one count each of first-degree murder.

Even though Xzayvion’s autopsy showed clear signs of abuse, the owner of Brilliant Minds Learning Academy has said she never saw them.

Evelyn Pierson has said Xzayvion was a good child who smiled a lot and liked to give hugs.

Robertson, 46, and Riley, 32, were initially booked on a count of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile following their son’s June 12 death, but the counts were changed to first-degree murder after East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Beau Clark deemed Xzayvion’s death a homicide.

Preliminary autopsy results show the boy died of “overwhelming infection,” caused by a ruptured bowel from blunt-force trauma to his abdomen, Clark has said. The autopsy also showed 60 external signs of recent and old trauma, including abrasions, bruises and a human bite mark, he said.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks has said Riley admitted to deputies that she beat her son and caused some of the bruises on his body. Riley also said that Robertson beat the child and caused the bruises and scratches on his neck, Hicks has stated.

Robertson denied any involvement in his son’s injuries, Hicks has said.

The victim’s 10-year-old sibling told deputies that Robertson beat the child with his fist from noon until the evening on June 11, an affidavit of probable cause says. The sibling also said she saw Robertson bite the child on a regular basis as a form of discipline and that Xzayvion vomited before he went to bed the night of June 11, Hicks has said.

Prior to the couple’s arrest and their son’s death, deputies had been contacted about the welfare of their children on three occasions in the past two years — by the state Department of Children and Family Services, a baby sitter and a family member of the children, Hicks has said.

DCFS documents delivered to the court in response to defense subpoenas are under court seal, Johnson has said.

Prosecutors have not announced whether they will seek the death penalty against Robertson and Riley.