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On July 16, 2017, DeAndre Cotton was put to bed by his mother at their apartment in Pittsboro. The following afternoon, Cotton was dead.
Josalyn Upchurch, 28, and her boyfriend Rickey Adams, 39, face criminal charges including first-degree murder and child abuse.
Adams appeared in court around 11:15 a.m. Thursday. His family was in court as he asked for a court-appointed attorney.
NEW: Mother charged with the murder of her 1-year-old son is in custody. Her boyfriend is facing the same charge. Both expected to appear in court. #ABC11 Read more here: https://t.co/k269PqpWuF pic.twitter.com/mI8BXerQFJ— Tim Pulliam (@TimABC11) December 20, 2018
Upchurch also appeared in court Thursday. She told ABC11 that she wants to hire her own attorney.
DeAndre's father, Darius, told ABC11 he simply couldn't understand how this happened.
"It's horrible, man. I don't get it. I just don't get it," Darius Cotton said. "I don't see how someone, especially a mother could allow this to happen -- more or less be involved."
Today is difficult for De’Andre’s father, Darius. He’s been waiting more than year for someone to be arrested and charged for his 1-year-old’s murder. His wife consoles him as we wait for the suspects Ricky Adams and Josalyn Upchurch to appear in court (Mom/boyfriend) #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/o8R1RK8V2R— Tim Pulliam (@TimABC11) December 20, 2018
Thursday, Darius Cotton was in the courtroom waiting to see what happened.
"We haven't rested since this happened," Cotton said. "That was just evil. I don't feel like that was planned for DeAndre's life."
The family sharing with me these images of De’Andre Cotton during happier times. The first pic is with his dad during his 1st and only birthday. De’Andre’s mom and her boyfriend are charged with murder and abuse. #ABC11 Read more here: https://t.co/33cLhj9Eo0 pic.twitter.com/5ptUJBIl5D— Tim Pulliam (@TimABC11) December 20, 2018
Melissia Cotton, the child's stepmother also spoke.
"I feel like the one time that he needed me, I wasn't there," she said. "Imagine in our mind thinking, what did he go through? How long did he go through it?
"They could have dropped him off any time -- day, night, morning, ice, snow," she added. "The door was never closed to De'Andre being here."
Darius Cotton said he was grateful for the time he did have to spend with his son and added: "Justice has begun."
The two defendants will return to court Jan. 7.