Mon. May 20th, 2024

Louisiana father who slit his son’s throat to avoid paying $4000 in back child support pleaded guilty.

Ja’Shawn Powell adored his father, whom he visited on occasional weekends.

On the evening of January 2, 2009, Danny Platt came to pick the boy up for a visit. The toddler ran to the door, excited to see his daddy. His mother, Daniella Powell, kissed him goodbye, and never saw him alive again.

Just before midnight, Platt took Ja’Shawn to a park on Jackson Avenue. He and his son sat on a bench and began talking to each other. Platt suddenly grabbed his son and slashed his throat with a box cutter.

Platt called Powell and told her that a woman had snatched the baby from his arms and ran. Then he called the police.

He told officers that a black SUV pulled up beside them, and three men with dreadlocks and AK-47s forced him and the boy onto the ground, according to court records. They called him “Johnny” and demanded money, he told officers. When he told the gunmen that he wasn’t Johnny, they grabbed the child and sped away. Police issued a nationwide Amber Alert for the child.

But Platt’s story stopped making sense. Officers noticed that he seemed “emotionless” and “did not appear concerned that his child was missing.”

Police grew suspicious. His story changed, the number of gunmen increased from three to four. He told obvious lies, that he didn’t know his own mother’s address, and that his cell phone was stolen by his attackers. He couldn’t spell his own son’s name.

He told detectives that his son’s mother was “money hungry.”

“Them people aren’t worried about that child, they just want money,” he said to officers. “I tell you think, they’ll never see the $4,000 I owe them after today.”

The child’s mother said she knew Pratt her whole life and dated him only briefly, but got pregnant. The boy was born on Valentine’s Day 2006.

Powell applied for food stamps, which required that she identify his biological father. His paternity was confirmed with a blood test. The state deducted $100 a week from his paychecks from a French Quarter restaurant he cleaned.

Platt reportedly threatened Powell over his child-support debt of $4,000, vowing that he would kill them before paying it.

Ja’Shawn’s 2-year-old body was found in a gym bag on January 2, 2009, near a Central City playground in the 1900 block of Jackson Avenue. His throat had been slashed and he bled to death, the coroner said.

“I’m sorry about killing my baby,” he told reporters as detectives led him to Central Lockup in 2009. “I had a lot of pressure on me … I had a whole bunch of reasons.”

On May 2, 2013, Platt pleaded guilty to capital murder in Criminal District Court Thursday morning, admitting that he slit his 2-year-old son’s throat to avoid paying $4,000 in overdue child support. Danny Platt accepted a life prison sentence.

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born |

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