A 26-year-old Los Angeles man accused of stabbing to death his girlfriend's son — an 11-year-old student at David Starr Jordan Middle School — pleaded not guilty this week to murder and child abuse charges, officials said.
The man, Rineson Adams, was charged with one count each of premeditated murder and child abuse — according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court criminal complaint — and entered his plea on Tuesday.
The boy, Jai Lewis, was stabbed multiple times in the chest and neck at around 9 a.m. on Memorial Day at his mother's home in the 200 block of South Carondelet Street in the Westlake District of Los Angeles, police and coroner's officials said.
The 11-year-old, whose father lives in Burbank, was pronounced dead at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles at 9:33 a.m.
The news shocked the Burbank Unified School District community.
In a message to Jordan middle school parents, Principal Stacy Cashman offered her condolences to Jai's family and friends.
"We will remember Jai for his great sense of humor and huge smile," she said in the statement. "He will be greatly missed by the Jordan community."
Cashman could not be reached for further comment, but school officials said a funeral for Jai was held on Thursday in Los Angeles.
It's unclear what prompted the domestic dispute.
During the attack, the boy's mother reportedly stabbed her boyfriend in his shoulder in an attempt to stop him from stabbing her son, said Los Angeles Police Sgt. Michael Mabie.
Adams has a rap sheet that reaches back almost a decade, including a burglary conviction in 2006, and two convictions for the transportation and sale of a controlled substance.
If convicted, Adams faces a maximum of 64 years to life in state prison.
Adams is being held in lieu of $1.22 million bail and is due back in court later this month, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.