An eight-year-old Sacramento boy was savagely beaten to death with a hammer by his mother’s ex-boyfriend after the boy tried to stop the murderer from molesting his seven-year-old sister.

On September 1, Deandre Chaney Jr., 23, allegedly attacked Dante Daniels, 8, with a hammer. Dante was trying to protect his sister Danae; the criminal complaint against Chaney Jr. accused him of committing a lewd act on the little girl.

Monique Brown, Dante's grandmother, recollected, "That was my Dante. Just starting the third grade. This guy beat my grandson with a hammer. Down to his spine. They couldn't save his brain.” She added, "He was a lot sensitive. He didn't play with kids who were rough. He played baseball … Trying to save his sister from this child molester and that's why he was beat the worst.”

The Washington Post reported Dante's mother, Elizabeth Salone, 27, had asked Chaney Jr., to watch the children while she dropped her brother off at work. When she returned, she reportedly heard one of her children crying; Chaney Jr. hit her with the hammer from behind, tied her up, then covered the three-bedroom home with lighter fluid. Salone escaped to a neighbor’s house, where she called the police. The timeline of exactly when Chaney Jr. brutally attacked the children is still unclear.

Brown stated of Salone, "She's OK. She will probably never see out of her left eye … My granddaughter will need a lot of help.”

The Sacramento Bee listed Chaney Jr.’s prior criminal record:

In October 2016, he pleaded no contest to a charge of failing to register as a sex offender. In 2014, he pleaded no contest to a charge of felony battery with serious bodily injury. In 2011, he pleaded no contest to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, Sacramento Superior Court records show. The record stretches for years before that, court documents show: charges of second-degree robbery in 2007; rape and forced oral copulation in 2007; forced oral copulation in 2008; lewd acts with a dependent adult as a caretaker in 2009,

Dante’s heart was donated to 4-year-old in Southern California. Brown said. "So a 4-year-old lives on because of..."