The Times--The Valley-Bay Area, February 10, 2001

Stepfather jailed after boy's beating
By Celeste Ward

ANTIOCH--Police have arrested a man on suspicion of beating his 11-year-old stepson 50 to 75 times with an electrical extension cord and breaking his hand because he thought the boy ate two hamburgers instead of one.

Joseph Buggs, 31, of Antioch was arrested Wednesday at his home on suspicion of causing corporal injury to a child, a felony, said Antioch police Sgt. Rock Huddleston.

The boy arrived Wednesday at Antioch Middle School with bruises and torn flesh on his face, head, back and arms, Huddleston said. He had been beaten severely with a 3-foot cord, hard enough that he had scabs in the shape of the cord.

The beating had taken place Sunday, the child told the police.

Not only was he covered in marks, but the boy's swollen hand and wrist were broken, Huddleston said.

Some of the fresh wounds were across the boy's face, on his nose and an eye, Huddleston said. He said it was the most severe child abuse case he had seen in 20 years.

Huddleston said the boy denied eating the hamburgers.

Child protective Services removed the boy from his house and placed him in a group home.

Buggs is being held in County Jail in Martinez on $50,000 bail.

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