Tears began to bulge from the eyes of Patricia Brewer as she was led Wednesday morning -- cuffed and shackled -- into a Hamilton County General Sessions courtroom.
Brewer, 23, searched the courtroom until her eyes found family members seated in the front row who silently mouthed words of encouragement to her.
It was her first court appearance since she and her live-in boyfriend, 21-year-old Kenneth Coleman, were charged in the beating death of her 4-year-old son, Tyre'ke Evans.
Coleman made no eye contact with Brewer before sitting on a bench directly in front of her. He stared ahead, emotionless.
Family members approached Judge David Bales and asked for time to hire a private defense attorney for Brewer. The public defender's office was appointed by Bales to represent Coleman.
Both Brewer and Coleman face charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and two counts of aggravated child abuse. Brewer remains in jail on a $3 million bond. Coleman remains in jail on a $4 million bond.
The pair's next court date is set for Jan. 10.
Neighbors said they watched as Brewer carried her son's limp body out to a car on Dec. 19 and strapped him into a car seat before the couple headed to the Children's Hospital at Erlanger. Coleman initially told hospital staff that Tyre'ke fell down some stairs but later said he beat Tyre'ke and his 3-year-old brother, Donamiche Brewer, with a belt.
Tyre'ke had a lacerated bowel, liver, broken but healing ribs, brain swelling and multiple abrasions when he was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Donamiche stayed in the hospital's intensive care unit most of last week and was released Friday to other family members through Department of Children's Services.
On Wednesday, another homicide case that occurred the same day as Tyre'ke's death was moved to Jan. 10.
Temekia Reed, 24, is charged with stabbing 15-year-old Shaviya Vinson in the heart with a pair of scissors on Dec. 19 during a brawl that broke out among about 20 other women in the 1300 block of Poplar Street Court.
Reed, who faces charges of criminal homicide, attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault, will appear before General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon.
According to witnesses to the brawl, it started over $20 in baby-sitting money that Reed's mother said she was owed.