A 31-year-old Columbus man is about to go on trial for murder in the 2013 death of his 2-year-old stepson.
Randall Guy Keller also is charged with first-degree child cruelty for allegedly giving William Powell a fatal head injury by bashing the boy against an object, according to his indictment.
Jury selection begins Monday in Superior Court Judge Ron Mullins’ court.
Keller’s other charges include second-degree burglary, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and two counts of possessing drug-related objects. Those are unrelated to the child’s death.
Emergency medical workers found Powell unconscious when they were called to Keller’s 4433 Lon Drive home about 4:30 a.m. on June 7, 2013, police said. Medics rushed the boy to the Midtown Medical Center, where physicians had him transferred to Scottish Rite hospital in Atlanta to be treated by a pediatric neurosurgeon.
Powell died there the following June 9 at 9:15 a.m., authorities said.
Though investigators said Powell sustained the injury while under Keller’s care, they did not charge the stepfather with murder until July 25, according to newspaper reports.
But he was arrested on the unrelated charges soon after the child died.
A neighbor told police she saw Keller break into her 2001 Ford Explorer to steal check stubs about 2 a.m. June 7, 2013 – the same night Powell was fatally injured. The neighbor’s son alleged Keller waved a knife at them when he and his mother came outside to confront the suspect.
Police serving a search warrant at Keller’s home the next day reported finding him asleep on the couch, and discovering about a half-ounce of marijuana, a glass pipe, a digital scale and a marijuana grinder inside.
He was charged June 10 with the drug and burglary offenses.