11-Year-Old Boy Fatally Stabbed While Defending Pregnant Mother From Ex-Boyfriend

The man who murdered Jayden Perkins was released on parole a day before the attack.

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11-year-old boy Jayden Perkins was left dead after he defended his pregnant mother from her ex-boyfriend, who was released on parole a day before the fatal attack.

Per ABC 7 Chicago, the young boy was killed by his mother's ex-boyfriend, 37-year-old Crosetti Brand, when he attempted to stop the man from attacking her with a knife. His 33-year-old mother, Laterria Smith, was helping Perkins and his 5-year-old brother get ready for school when Brand forced his way into their home. According to Chicago police, the boy stood in the way of Brand so he could protect his mother. He suffered stab wounds and died as a result of his injuries. His mother was taken to hospital in critical condition, but she and her unborn child are expected to survive the injuries.

"This is something that should have never happened," said Chicago Police Department Superintendent Larry Snelling, who confirmed the arrest of Brand in a press conference. Brand was released from prison just one day before the attack while serving a 16-year sentence for aggravated assault and home invasion. He was previously out on parole in October 2023, and made threats against Perkins' mother, sending him back behind bars for parole violation in February this year.

Smith had dated Brand over 15 years ago, according to a WGN 9 News report. She filed a request for an Emergency Order of Protection, which she was expected to stand before a judge over on the day of the attack. Brand has been arrested on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, home invasion with a dangerous weapon, armed robbery, aggravated domestic battery, violation of a protective order, and felon in possession of a weapon.

A fundraiser has been launched to help his mother recover from the attack.

"Jayden was an exceptional young man, respected by his peers and admired by his teachers," reads a statement on the fundraiser's page. "He excelled academically, earning straight A's and consistently making the honor roll. He was also deeply involved in extracurricular activities, participating in cross country, football, and the arts. Jayden had a passion for performing and theater, and he had the lead role in several school plays, including Finding Nemo at Peirce Elementary."

Per Block Club Chicago, Perkins attended Giordano Dance School, where he was described as a radiant student who brought an infectious energy. Peirce Elementary School principal Lori Zaimi said there are plans to memorialize the 11-year-old at the school. "Jayden was that kid who shined in every space that he was in. He connected everyone,” Zaimi said. “It’s changed here. We’re trying to navigate as a school, but Jayden was a huge part of who we are. There’s this feeling we can’t move on normally.”

A vigil was held for Jayden Perkins the day after he was killed. Students gathered to mourn the loss of their friend, including Mason Hamm, who said, "Everybody's going to miss him."

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