MEMPHIS – A 25-year-old man was indicted Thursday on first-degree murder in the perpetration of aggravated child abuse in connection with the beating death last year of a 4-year-old girl at an East Memphis motel, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.
Richard Lassister, who also was indicted on first-degree murder in the perpetration of aggravated child neglect, is being held on $1 million bond.
Investigators said the child’s mother, who is the defendant’s former girlfriend, was holding her unresponsive daughter, Zamiya Taylor-Evans, when she flagged down police on April 14 last year outside a motel in the 1300 block of Sycamore View.
Paramedics responded and pronounced the child dead at the scene. The girl had a cut above her left eye as well as severe bruising to her face, chest and back.
The child’s mother said she left her daughter and 1-year-old son in Lassister’s care when she left for work earlier that day.
Lassister, who was arrested at a nearby bus stop, told investigators he struck the young girl because she woke up her younger brother.
The case is being handled by Eric Christensen, chief prosecutor of the DA’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) which prosecutes cases of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse of child victims; rape and aggravated rape of adult victims, and abuse of elderly and vulnerable adults.
SVU reviews child-victim cases with Shelby County’s multi-agency Child Protection Investigative Team.