Man could face death penalty in beating death of his son


CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio man who called 911 to say he was hearing voices and had struck his 5-year-old son with a baseball bat has been indicted on a new aggravated murder charge that could lead to a death sentence if convicted.

Matthew Ponomarenko, 32, of Parma, was indicted by a grand jury in Cleveland earlier this week, reported on Friday.

Jax Ponomarenko was found dead after the beating in March. His father was indicted on an aggravated murder charge in April that didn’t include death penalty specifications. A judge ordered Ponomarenko to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if he was competent to stand trial.

Prosecutors at the time said they would consider seeking a new indictment with harsher potential penalties.

A message seeking comment was left with Ponomarenko’s attorney on Friday.

Ponomarenko remains jailed on a $5 million bond. His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.