- Associated Press - Monday, July 6, 2015

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Sheriff’s officials say a 6-year-old autistic boy is on life support after he was beaten by his mother’s boyfriend.

Defendant Aaron Vanmeter of Hancock was being held on $1 million bail after a hearing Monday in Hagerstown. His public defender didn’t immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press.

Vanmeter is charged with first- and second-degree assault and first- and second-degree child abuse. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office says he beat Dustin Barnhart at a home in Hancock on Thursday night.

Lt. Gregory Alton says in a sworn statement that Vanmeter acknowledged using excessive discipline, including hitting and kicking, because he gets frustrated when the boy won’t listen.

Alton says Vanmeter told him that that he grabbed Dustin forcefully on Thursday night “in an attempt to scare him into being good.”


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