8-Y-O Hammered to Death Protecting Sister From Sex Abuse

An 8-year-old boy, who was brutally murdered with a hammer, was trying to protect his younger sister from being molested, his grandmother says.

"Trying to save his sister from this child molester and that's why he was beat the worst," Monique Brown, the grandmother of the eight-year-old boy, told KTXL-TV. Deandre Chaney Jr., 23, faces murder and attempted murder charges, along with the charge of lewd acts with a child under 14, in connection with the attack.

The criminal complaint states that Chaney murdered the 8-year-old boy, whose name was Dante, while he was engaged in the crime of committing a lewd act on his sister. At some point, investigators said Chaney turned the hammer and a knife on her, as well as her mother.

Dante is being remembered as a hero. Dante had just started third grade and at Oak Ridge Elementary in South Sacramento, but didn't make it to his second day, his grandmother said. "This guy beat my grandson with a hammer, down to his spine.

They couldn't save his brain," Brown said. Dante died six days after the attack, which occurred early in the morning on Sept. 1. Investigators said Chaney is the ex-boyfriend of Dante's mother. A criminal complaint also alleges that he used lighter fluid.

Brown said her grandson was a little boy who brought a smile to her face. "He was a lot sensitive. He didn't play with kids who were rough. He played baseball," Brown said of Dante. Brown wants the community to see how Chaney left her daughter, 28-year-old Elizabeth Salone, and daughter, 7-year-old Danae, for dead.

She said Brown will probably never see out of her left eye and Danae "will need a lot of help." The community has sent cards, flowers and candles to show their support for the family during their suffering. Brown said it has helped them persevere. In the end, evil was not strong enough to steal Dantes heart.

"Dante gave his heart to a 4-year-old in Southern California, so a four year old lives because of this," she said.