A Uniondale man, described by the Nassau police commissioner as a "monster," was ordered held on a $20 million bond Tuesday after being charged with fatally beating his girlfriend's toddler son.
Lord Pardo, 26, a factory worker, was charged in First District Court with second-degree murder in the death of Mason Robinson, 18 months old. The New Cassel boy had been left in his care by the boy's mother, officials said.
"It is clear that the defendant has no soul," Thomas Krumpter, acting Nassau County police commissioner said at a news conference. "He is truly a monster."
During Pardo's arraignment in Hempstead Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Jessica Cepriano said an autopsy showed Mason sustained a fractured skull, broken ribs, a lacerated liver and lung.
"This child was murdered," the prosecutor said.
Pardo's defense attorney, Meir Moza, of Mineola, denied that his client caused the injuries and said it was "an accident" caused when Mason jumped on a bed and fell while he was at Pardo's Uniondale house. He said Pardo has no criminal record and was baby-sitting Mason and his 3-week-old daughter at the time.
"For him to all of a sudden hurt a baby . . . seems impossible," said Moza, who called it a "tragic case" and added: "My client is sorry."
But Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said, "This was no accident. This baby was severely beaten and those injuries caused his death."
Nassau District Court Judge Darlene Harris ordered Pardo held on a $20 million bond or $10 million cash bail.
Krumpter confirmed that Pardo, who came to the United States from Haiti in 2009, had no criminal record, and there is no indication of prior Child Protective Services involvement.
Mason's mother, Marie Eresthine, on Sunday left Mason in Pardo's care, which she has done six to eight times the past, and she went to work in Syosset, Krumpter said.
Pardo brought Mason to his home at 327 Lenox Ave. and at about 1:40 p.m. he texted her to say Mason "was having difficulty breathing."
Eresthine asked Pardo to bring Mason to the grocery store where she works, and from there he was taken to the hospital. Mason was pronounced dead at 2:57 p.m. Sunday at Syosset Hospital, police said. Pardo was arrested Monday, police said.
"Nothing is more despicable than the murder of a child, a helpless and defenseless child, at the hands of someone who is entrusted to take care for that child," Singas said. "My heart goes out to this baby's mother."
Mary Johnson, who lives in the same apartment with Mason and Eresthine described the toddler Tuesday as a "beautiful kid, beautiful baby. He was happy, joyful . . . Any song that you put, he's jumping. He was a good baby."
Johnson, 23, who is Eresthine's cousin, said the young mother, also 23, is inconsolable over the loss of her only child. The child's father lives in Queens, Johnson said.
"I can't imagine the pain she's going through," said Johnson. "She [Eresthine] said, 'I trusted him.' She went to work because she has to. She's a single mother. She has to give Mason all she could give him."