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Buffalo woman charged with manslaughter in death of 2-year-old son

The mother of the 2-½-year-old boy who died Tuesday of blunt force injuries was arrested Thursday evening and charged with first-degree manslaughter.

Keona Owens, 22, was arraigned on the charge in Buffalo City Court Friday morning and ordered held on $500,000 bail.

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said the manslaughter charge accuses Owens of shaking and beating her son, Xavion Hazzard, in the Kaisertown home where she was living with her boyfriend and their two daughters, a 1-year-old and a 2-month-old.

Bashar Hall, Owens' boyfriend, was charged with first-degree manslaughter late Tuesday just hours after Xavion died at Oishei Children's Hospital.

The Erie County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Xavion died of multiple blunt force injuries, the DA's office said Thursday.

"There is a higher charge here of murder under the legal theory of depraved indifference and that avenue is going to be explored for both of the defendants," District Attorney John J. Flynn said at a news conference Friday morning. (Aaron Besecker/Buffalo News)

Authorities did not specifically explain what led them to arrest Owens on Thursday night at Buffalo Police headquarters, two days after her boyfriend was arrested.

"Once the original, initial arrest was made and the arraignment, the homicide detectives just continued the investigation, continued pursuing evidence and facts of what happened," the district attorney said at a Friday news conference. "And based upon what they uncovered over the course of the past two days, like I said before, there was probable cause now to arrest her."

Even though both defendants currently face a charge of first-degree manslaughter, Flynn said both could face a murder charge under the legal theory of "depraved indifference" to human life.

"There is a higher charge here of murder under the legal theory of depraved indifference and that avenue is going to be explored for both of the defendants," Flynn said. "And until we get a complete picture of all the medical records, until we get the final autopsy report in its final format and are able to review all of the evidence in this case, at that time a determination will be made if in fact we have the evidence to prove that charge. Right now we definitively have, I believe, the probable cause on a manslaughter, first-degree."

Flynn praised the work of Buffalo police and homicide detectives.

Owens is due back for a felony hearing Wednesday, while Hall is scheduled to be back in court Monday.

Police and firefighters were called to the family's home on Weaver Street in the city's Kaisertown neighborhood about 2:40 p.m. Tuesday after someone inside the home called 911, Flynn said earlier. Communications over Buffalo Fire Department radio indicate authorities were called to the home on a rescue call for cardiac arrest. A dispatcher told Engine 35 there was a 2-year-old child who was not breathing, according to archives of the radio transmissions posted on broadcastify.com.

'I forgive him,' mother says of boyfriend charged in 2-year-old son's death

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