Thursday, April 15th 2010, 4:00 AM
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Larry Greene told his 7-month-old son, Xiah, to 'toughen up,' then fatally beat him, according to prosecutors.
Jealous that his son "preferred his mother," a Queens dad fatally beat his 7-month-old, the latest in a rash of violence against small children in the borough, officials said Wednesday.
"Toughen up!" Larry Greene yelled at the crying child before punching him in the chest, prosecutors charged.
Xiah stopped breathing moments later, and died Tuesday night at Queens Hospital Center, the fourth child in the borough to die at the hands of a guardian in five weeks.
"We're grieving right now," Pierre Nady, 47, the victim's maternal grandfather, said Wednesday. "Xiah was only 7 months old - he was a cute, little boy [and] he was loved."
Xiah had a bruise on his scalp, two bruises on the neck and five bruises on the chest that showed imprints of an adult's knuckles, officials said.
"He said the baby fell when he was feeding him but it wasn't even close to the truth," said Nady.
Prosecutors said they have a videotaped confession from Greene, who admits hitting his son - and told them he was upset the boy "preferred his mother."
Greene's shocked sister refused to believe he could be such a monster. "Larry is a good person, he wouldn't do anything like this," said Laquana Greene, 25. "It's a misunderstanding."
Greene was charged with second-degree manslaughter yesterday and could face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Xiah was at the least the ninth child assaulted by a caregiver in the last five months.
"There is no excuse for these senseless attacks," said Brown.
Officials said Saul Cortez, 24, admits he punched Mario several times when he would not stop crying. The child suffered severe brain damage, a lacerated liver and several fractured bones.
Cortez was originally charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child but a grand jury could upgrade the charge to murder, officials said.
- Two Queens infants were killed by their baby-sitters in March, according to prosecutors. Anniyah Lavant, 19 months, and Dilan Crillo, 9 months, were each shaken to death by their guardians, both of whom were later charged with second-degree murder.
- Five other children - all under the age of 5 - were also badly injured in incidents across the borough since November, according to Brown.
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