Defense Strategy Rejected In Infant Death Trial: Mother Convicted On All Counts

By Scott Sarvay
By Megan Trent
By Jeff Neumeyer

April 14, 2011 Updated Apr 14, 2011 at 5:42 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - A high-profile infant death case in Fort Wayne results in guilty verdicts on all counts for the mother standing trial.

The outcome on Thursday not what LaDawn Johnson was hoping for in the courtroom.

The 26-year old mother was convicted of three felony charges, after her own lawyer invited the jury to find her guilty of one of the lesser charges.

It took the 12-member jury panel only about an hour and a half to convict Johnson of battery causing death, neglect of a dependent causing death and neglect causing injury.

Johnson had no reaction when the verdicts were read in court, but afterward, did say the outcome was not fair.

Back in December, Johnson showed up at a friend's apartment, saying she needed help because her four-week old daughter was not breathing.

The three-day trial produced evidence and testimony about the abuse little Alyssa Johnson had to endure, including burns, bruises, broken bones, and ultimately a fractured skull that caused her death.

Defense lawyer Jeff Raff in closing arguments asked the jury to convict Johnson of the neglect causing injury count, saying that would ensure she suffered consequences for her actions.

The prosecution said that would not amount to justice served, claiming Johnson tortured and killed her daughter because she never wanted the child.

Apparently the jury felt likewise.

If Johnson gets the maximum on all charges, she’s looking at 108 years, but 30 to 50 years is much more realistic at the May 16th sentencing hearing.




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