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DA: Couple accused of abusing grandson, cashing his Social Security checks



PITTSBURGH - A local couple accused of abusing their own grandson is facing several charges, according to District Attorney Stephen Zappala.

Zappala said Michelle Thompson was charged with four felonies and four misdemeanors stemming from the alleged abuse of her boyfriend’s 25-year-old grandson, who has intellectual disabilities.

According to Zappala, Thompson admitted that she put the victim outside in below-freezing weather as punishment for poor behavior.

Zappala said Thompson is also accused of depriving the man of food and locking him in his bedroom at their Rothman Street home in Knoxville.

Thompson’s live-in boyfriend, Jimmie Peterson, is the alleged victim’s grandfather. He is facing four felonies and three misdemeanors, Zappala said.

According to Zappala, Peterson admitted he beat his grandson with a wooden baseball bat for refusing to bathe, for stealing and for breaking two TV sets.

“They didn’t hit him in areas of his body where you could sustain life-threatening injury, and we attribute that to the fact they were cashing his Social Security checks. So if the kid dies, you don’t get any more checks,” Zappala said.

Investigators told Channel 11’s Alan Jennings that medical tests showed the alleged victim has suffered multiple skull fractures, cuts, bruises and a broken arm.

“They stand accused, but if they’re convicted of these crimes, then we’re going to ask for penitentiary time,” Zappala said.