Viloude Louis loved hugs and swings, Cinderella and Alicia Keys. The happy 5-year-old girl thought she’d grow up to be a pop star.
But now she won’t grow up at all.
Her big brother allegedly beat her to death Sunday night, as he used her to practice wrestling moves at their Terrytown apartment.
Devalon Armstrong, 13, was booked into the juvenile jail on a charge of second-degree murder. He allegedly slammed the child onto a bed and beat her until her bones were broken and her liver lacerated, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday. She died from blunt-force trauma and multiple internal injuries.
A probable cause hearing in Jefferson Parish juvenile court was begun Tuesday about the charges against Armstrong, whose name was released by the Sheriff’s Office. But a defense attorney raised the issue of whether Armstrong is mentally competent, which halted proceedings, according to the court.
When questions about competency are raised, psychiatrists must evaluate a defendant to come up with a recommendation about whether that person can participate in his own defense and understands the proceedings. A hearing about Armstrong’s competency is scheduled for next month.
Viloude was the youngest of three siblings at the family’s apartment on Carrollwood Village Drive.
“I’m trying to be strong, and trying to take care of my mom and my dad,” her 11-year-old sister, Christelle Louis, said Tuesday afternoon. She knows, she said, that she’s all they have left.
As her mother lay on the couch, barely able to speak, Christelle and two neighborhood children carried framed photos of Viloude to the parking lot of their apartment complex. They wanted to tell the television news crews how nice, how pretty little Viloude had been.
She was sweet and generous, said 7-year-old Bryance Joseph. She was quick to offer hugs or a push on the swing set. She loved going to church, and argued with her sister only over who got to sing Alicia Keys songs. She planned to be a superstar.
The family moved to Louisiana several years ago from Naples, Fla. Her father, Vilger Louis, works as a cab driver.
Viloude was at home alone with Armstrong, her half-brother, on Sunday while their mother was away at the store.
The boy called 911 and said his sister had stopped breathing, said Col. John Fortunato, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
The operator told the teenagers how to perform CPR to try to keep his sister alive until paramedics arrived.
When Jefferson Parish deputies arrived around 1:30 p.m., the child was unresponsive on the bathroom floor. Around the same time, their mother, Adlourdes Desvallons, arrived home to the chaotic scene.
Paramedics tried to revive the girl, but were unsuccessful and rushed her to Ochsner Medical Center’s West Bank hospital. She died a short time later, Fortunato said.
The Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office did an external exam of her body and found no obvious signs of trauma or major injuries, beyond what appeared to be a bruise on her elbow, Fortunato said. Her cause of death was, at first, listed as unclassified.
At first, Armstrong told investigators that the girl complained of a stomach ache and went upstairs to brush her teeth in the bathroom. He said he checked on her a half-hour later and found her on the floor, complaining of stomach pains. He said he took her downstairs and laid her on the sofa.
Homicide detective Matt Vasquez interviewed the teen the next morning. The boy then allegedly admitted that while he was baby-sitting Viloude, he started to wrestle with her, and practice World Wresting Entertainment-style moves on the child.
Armstrong smiled as he described how he picked the child up and slammed her onto the bed several times, according a statement from the Sheriff’s Office. He told the detective that he punched her in the stomach several times, jumped on her and struck her with his elbow “like the wrestlers do on television.”
The child told Armstrong he was hurting her, he said, but he continued to beat her for another two or three minutes. He didn’t stop until his mother called to check on them.
Vasquez reported that the boy smiled “and appeared to enjoy talking about the wrestling moves and physical abuse” during their conversation.
Viloude’s death was reclassified as a homicide and her half-brother booked into the Juvenile Assessment Center in Harvey.
WWE sent a statement Tuesday, offering condolences to the family and distancing televised wresting from the child’s death.
“WWE urges restraint in reporting this unfortunate incident as if it were the result of a WWE wrestling move,” the company’s statement said. “As in similar cases, criminal intent to harm and a lack of parental supervision have been the factors resulting in a tragic death.”
Kerson Laforest, a 13-year-old who played with Viloude in the courtyard of their apartment complex, said Armstrong was not a nice boy. Laforest said that his friend had told him before that Armstrong liked to slap around Viloude when her mother was away. Viloude told Laforest that Armstrong got mad when she wouldn’t do what he told her to.
But his mother, Desvallons, said she’s spoken with him. He’s sorry for what he did, she said, and he never expected it would happen.
“She was really, really kind,” Desvallons said of her little girl. “So smart, so beautiful.”