Jaques Twinn
Jaques Twinn

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a York City man accused of fatally beating a toddler he regularly baby-sat.

Aric Shayne Woodard, 39, of West Jackson Street, remains in county prison without bail, charged in the Nov. 7 death of 2-year-old Jaques Twinn.

York City Police allege Woodard, who goes by Shayne, beat Jaques to death while baby-sitting him in a home in the 100 block of West Boundary Avenue.

On Tuesday, Woodard appeared in York County Court for his formal arraignment, which is when prosecutors gave notice they will seek a first-degree murder conviction as well as the death penalty.

Torture alleged: District Attorney Tom Kearney cited two aggravated factors: Jaques' young age and the fact that his death amounted to torture.

Aric Shayne Woodard
Aric Shayne Woodard

"The child was severely beaten over an extended period of time while in the (care) of the defendant," Kearney said.

Defense attorney Joanne Floyd could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Earlier this month, she told The York Dispatch she doesn't believe her client beat Jaques and that the defense will conduct a "vigorous investigation."

"There's no definitive answer as to when those injuries were inflicted," Floyd said, or who inflicted them. "I'm just not convinced."

But chief deputy prosecutor Jennifer Russell, who is handling the case, has said she's comfortable she can prove Woodard is guilty.

The background: Woodard was baby-sitting Jaques and his 1-year-old sister when he ran to a neighbor and had them call 911, police said.

An ambulance rushed Jaques to York Hospital, where hospital personnel were told that Woodard had reported the tot nearly drowned, according to preliminary hearing testimony.

But an autopsy determined he was beaten to death, police said, and suffered wounds to his brain, face, ears, stomach, back, buttocks and legs. He also suffered internal abdominal injuries, Russell has said.

Mess made: Woodard told police he left the children alone to go to a nearby store. When he returned, he found Jaques sitting on the kitchen floor, smearing feces all over himself, according to York City Detective Al Clarkson.

Woodard told investigators he became frustrated and smacked the boy, then "snatched him up by the ear" and ordered him to go upstairs and clean himself, Clarkson said.

Woodard told detectives that when he checked on Jaques, the boy was sitting in the bathtub, slumped over and unresponsive, according to Clarkson.

Clarkson said he determined Woodard was the only adult with Jaques between about 8 p.m. Nov. 6 and when 911 was called about 2:30 p.m. Nov. 7.

Frustrated? According to Clarkson, Woodard had feelings for Jaques' mother, Hayley Twinn, but she did not feel the same. He also said Woodard considered the children his own.

"(Woodard) became frustrated that day," Clarkson has said. "He knew she was out with somebody else, and he realized she was using him to watch her kids while she was out with another guy. Whether that's the reason he snapped and did this? Well, that's something we're going to have to try to prove."

Twinn has not returned messages seeking comment.

"From people we interviewed, we learned it was an ongoing thing that she left her kids with Woodard," Clarkson said.

-- Reach Elizabeth Evans at levans@yorkdispatch.com, 505-5429 or twitter.com/ydcrimetime.