COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - The mother of a 9-year-old boy stabbed with a machete in a Covington park Friday night says though her son is doing better, the charges against his attacker are not strong enough.
The attack happened around 9 p.m. near the corner of West 11th Street and Hermes Avenue.
“He’s actually doing very well, better than we expected, but the fear — my baby is now withdrawn from school,” said Alicia Haywood.
Covington police arrested Esteban Portugues, 35, on assault charges for the attack, but Haywood wants those charges upgraded to attempted murder.
“The charges are ridiculous. If I was to do that to somebody I’d be in way more severe trouble than what he is," she said. "He got second degree for trying to kill my kid. If you come with a machete to a fight you ain’t trying to hurt somebody you’re trying to kill them. If my baby would’ve turned two inches it would’ve took his neck off and they would’ve beheaded my d--n kid. No, I’m not O.K. with this.”
Portugues appeared in court for the first time since the attack Monday morning where a judge set bond at $10,000.
Haywood says her son Michael is out of the hospital but is still recovering from the three-inch deep, two-inch wide gash in his shoulder blade.
“They had cut his blood vessel that went from his heart to his lung and we are going to try to get the charges brought up to attempted murder by leaving here and going to get the paperwork,” she said.
Haywood said she and police both have video of the attack.
“The videos that we’ve got show my older son and his cousin and then my younger son that was there. My youngest was on a skateboard riding around the basketball court while the other two were betting a dollar for a basketball game. They seen the three [men] standing in a yard which faces the basketball court. They was just sitting, looking, watching them. They come out — we see them on video — they come out to the front of the house, they’re premeditating to do this to my son. They’re showing the dude how he’s actually going to hit my son,” Haywood said.
She described the attack as a ‘whack’ to her son’s shoulder.
Haywood says the video shows the three men including Portugues chasing Michael, who she says made it four houses from home when the attack happened.
9-year-old Michael, and the two other boys ages 13 and 16, attempted to run away from the men, but Michael was not able to keep up with the others and Portugues was able to catch up to him.
She says one of the men threw rocks at her son’s feet, trying to trip him so that Portugues could ‘whack’ him.
If not for Michael’s shoulder blade, she says, he might not be alive.
“The [scapula] was what saved my son from his heart getting split in half,” she said.
Michael told police the other men had knives in their hands while they chased him.
Haywood says the men who attacked her son are somewhat known to the family because her son plays with a young boy who lives in the same house as the men.
“He plays with this little kid that is there in that home because everyone on this street picks on this little kid and my kid is so friendly and he actually plays with him on a daily basis,” she said.
She says she doesn’t know if Portugues is related to her son’s friend.
Haywood says she is dealing with a lot of anger and fear over what happened.
“It’s scary. My sister lives two doors down from them and her son has to go to school and walk past this house every day — one of the boys that was involved,” she said.
The park where it happened is frequented by neighborhood kids, something Haywood says also concerns her.
“Every day there’s kids there playing. We live on a dead-end street so the park is right there for all the kids and they’re there every day,” she said.
As for Portugues, Haywood says she would like to see a much harsher punishment.
“He don’t need to get out. He don’t even deserve life in my opinion. I think it’s eye-for-an-eye when it happens with a kid," she said.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney for Kenton Count Rob Sanders says Portugues is also facing an immigration charge which indicates that he might not be a U.S. citizen.
Sanders says Portugues could face deportation but they aren’t sure about his immigration status.
“This defendant has an ICE holder. It is not a ‘charge’ per se but a detainer. I have no first hand information about this defendant’s immigration status but the federal government doesn’t place ICE holders on American citizens. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s here illegally though. Legal immigrants who commit felonies face deportation too,” Sanders said.
He also said charges could be upgraded but its ‘too early to tell.’
A Kenton County judge set a preliminary hearing date for May 21 at 1:30 p.m.