PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. - A Pauling County grand jury has indicted a man for the murder of his 12-year-old son.
If found guilty, Shayaa Forbes will face a life sentence in prison.
The eight count indictment against Forbes includes three counts of murder in connection with the death of his son Eric.
"I think most troubling to me is that this child had to suffer the length of time that he apparently had to suffer," said Paulding County District Attorney Dick Donovan.
Last October, Paulding County sheriff's deputies were called to Forbes' Acworth home for a possible drowning. They quickly found signs Eric Forbes had been severely abused and arrested Shayaa Forbes on the spot for child cruelty.
In the indictment, prosecutors said they believe Forbes' long term abuse of his son included beatings with a belt, a wooden paddle, and his fists, plus, prosecutors say the cruelty included "repeatedly biting" Eric.
"If a child can't feel safe in his own home, he can't survive there, then what chance does a child have," said prosecutor David Lyles.
A Channel 2 Action News investigation found Eric Forbes had previous contact with state child welfare workers.
Later the Department of Family and Children Services fired several caseworkers and a supervisor over how they handled Forbes' case.
Meantime, Shayaa Forbes is out on bail after a judge reduced his bond earlier this month after nearly 6 months in jail without an indictment.
"I'm not happy about it, but that's not my call. That's the court's call. The judge makes that call," Donovan said.
Either way, no one came to the door when we stopped by the Cobb County apartment where court papers show Forbes is allowed to live.
Donovan said the reason it took so long to present the indictment to the grand jury was because the case was so complex. The medical examiner's report also took longer than expected to complete.
Forbes is expected be arraigned in the coming weeks.
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