Foster parent indicted in killing of 6-year-old in Buffalo

Byron Clark allegedly killed by Jermaine St. John in January 2019
Jermaine St. John
Jermaine St. John Photo credit Erie County District Attorney's Office

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - A caretaker at a foster home has been charged with the 2019 death of a 6-year-old boy.

Jermaine J. St. John is accused of killing Byron Clark at a foster home on Newburgh Avenue in Buffalo. St. John was charged with first-degree manslaughter.

"The autopsy in that case took a rather long time to get done for medical reasons," Flynn said. "I don't want to go into too much detail because this is all stuff that's going to come out in the course of trial...There were numerous issues with the autopsy as far as determining exactly what happened here for medical reasons. Therefore, it took a real long while for the autopsy to get done."

Clark ultimately died of blunt force trauma to multiple parts of his body.

It took nearly two years for charges to be filed against St. John, who was the caretaker and foster father of Clark.

Clark lived a difficult life, which involved abuse by his biological parents. He was taken away from his parents and given to a different foster family. However, he left that family for reasons that aren't entirely clear.

"He was put in a group home for foster kids," Flynn said. "Jermaine St. John worked in that group home and Mr. St. John apparently got along well with this child. They hit it off at the group home and, at some point, Mr. St. John agreed to take this child into his own home, and he did here in the City of Buffalo."

The district attorney said it was unusual for St. John to take in the child because St. John was unmarried, had no kids, and only had a sister who helped care for the child.

"He was the primary caregiver," Flynn said. "He continued to work at the group home and worked overnights. While he worked overnights, the sister would care for the child in the evening. He apparently took the child in in November (2018), two months before this alleged incident occurred."

Flynn said Clark was beloved by the teachers and staff at Buffalo Public School 45.

"The death of this child is not going to go unnoticed," Flynn said.