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Father in court on murder charge

A Morrow father made his first court appearance, Thursday, on charges that he killed his toddler son by swinging him by the neck with a belt, "like a rag doll."

Ryan Russell Edwards, 34, was in Clayton County Magistrate Court on the new charge, which was added Wednesday. His son, Mikkah Brown, 1, died Monday after being taken off life support.

Magistrate Betrice Scott denied bond in the case, and told Edwards he qualified for a public defender. He hung his head briefly, but told Scott he had no questions. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 14.

Mikkah was hospitalized, Friday, at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta after vomiting, and acting lethargic. His mother, Toni Brown, decided, Monday, to take him off life support because of the severity of his injuries.

Arrest warrants filed last week in Clayton Magistrate Court state that the baby's brother, Malakai Brown, 12, came downstairs on Jan. 26, between 10 p.m., and 11 p.m., for a drink of water. The older boy said he saw Edwards swinging his brother by a belt around the toddler's neck, according to police.

The older boy reportedly said Edwards was swinging the toddler so high the child's feet were hitting the ceiling. He told police he wanted to call his mother at work, but Edwards had the phone.

When the baby began vomiting and acting drowsy into the next day, police said, the couple took him to a satellite office of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. While in the waiting room, police said, Edwards "continuously" got in the way of personnel trying to help the baby.

The baby was transported to the Atlanta hospital and put on life support. Doctors told police the baby suffered a skull fracture, subdural hemorrhaging and bruises to his chest and ribs.

Edwards reportedly told police that he "wrestled and play-boxed" with the baby. He also said he wrapped the child in a blue blanket and slung him around the room.