Updated:POINT MARION, Pa. —
A judge says a local man charged with fatally beating his girlfriend's 4-year-old son can face the death penalty if he's convicted of first-degree murder.
Twenty-eight-year olds Patrick Haney Jr. and Heather Forsythe, both of Point Marion, are jailed and awaiting trial in the Sept. 13, 2011 death of Forsythe's son, Trenton St. Clair.
Fayette County prosecutors allege Haney systematically beat the boy over several weeks and that Forsythe was charged because she allegedly knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it.
Haney has denied being responsible for any abuse.
Fayette County President Judge John Wagner denied a defense motion to bar the possible death penalty based on claim's that Haney never formed a specific intent to kill the boy.