In a shocking incident that took place in Parma, Ohio, a man named Matthew Ponomarenko, aged 34, confessed to the murder of his 5-year-old son, Jax, in a 911 call he made from his residence on March 25, 2021. The chilling audio, released by cleveland.com, revealed Ponomarenko claiming to hear voices, although he couldn’t explain why he took his son’s life.
Fast forward to over two years later, Ponomarenko has admitted his guilt in court and received a life sentence for his heinous crime. He will have the opportunity to apply for parole after serving 45 years in prison. The charges leveled against him include aggravated murder, kidnapping, and child endangerment.
This was not the first time Ponomarenko’s actions had put his son in harm’s way. In 2017, he pleaded no contest to a child endangerment case, as reported by Cleveland. Authorities stated that he had abandoned his then one-year-old son in the middle of a road while shouting at passersby. He also admitted to the police that he had consumed substances like meth and PCP.
Jax’s uncle, Johnathan Cherni, in a report to WOIO on March 26, 2021, revealed that Jax was autistic and used a tablet for communication. He described the murder as sudden and unexpected. Ponomarenko had recently been released from a behavioral health center and was not on medication, but appeared to be in a stable condition.
Cherni recalled the day of the incident, stating that his mother had dropped Jax off at Ponomarenko’s place. The child seemed happy and content, making the news of his murder even more shocking.
On the day of the incident, officers arrived at the scene on Russell Avenue and arrested Ponomarenko in his front yard. Inside the house, they discovered Jax in the living room, having suffered severe blunt force trauma to his head and face.
Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley, commenting on the case, stated that Ponomarenko had brutally beaten and killed his own son. He expressed hope that the sentence would bring some measure of peace and solace to the grieving family, and that Jax’s memory would forever live in their hearts.