The sickening case of a child beaten to death by his common law step mother is likely to result in some esoteric arguments in the Supreme Court in order to clarify the nuances between first and second degree murder. The accused was initially charged with second degree murder but the charge was upgraded to first degree on the basis of the aggravating factor that the accused caused the victim to fear for his death prior to being killed. The high court will be required to rule whether this aggravating circumstance could properly be inferred from the abuse inflicted on the four year old in the days prior to his death.