On Monday, 23-year-old Devell M. Johnson was charged with first-degree murder for the death of a 2-year-old girl, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Johnson is accused of beating to death Armaney Cotton, the daughter of Johnson’s long-time girlfriend. Police found Cotton’s body at Johnson’s home on Saturday.
Chicago police responded to a call on Saturday reporting an unresponsive child in bed. According to Cotton’s mother, Brittany Cotton, and other relatives, the girl had suffered close to 20 bruises, scratches, and bite marks on her face, arms, and chest.
Cotton’s mother had left the girl in Johnson’s care, as she had several times before without any problems. Initially, Johnson contended that the child’s injuries were the result of an accidental fall. However, the girl’s mother wasn’t convinced.
“Babies fall all the time,” Brittany Cotton said. “They don’t get cuts and bruises and bites. She did not fall.”
Cotton was pronounced dead at 4:42 that day, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. The Examiner’s office determined that Cotton had died of multiple injuries sustained during a beating. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Under Illinois’ criminal code, a person who kills another is guilty of first-degree murder if he intended to kill the individual or inflict great bodily harm, he knew that his acts created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm, or the death occurred while the person was committing a dangerous felony. A first-degree murder conviction is punishable by 20 years to life in prison.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is currently investigating the death of Armaney Cotton. Devell M. Johnson is scheduled to appear for a bond hearing on Tuesday.
- Find a Chicago Criminal Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Armaney Cotton, 2-Year-Old Found With Bites, Scratch Marks, Dies in Hospital (The Huffington Post)
- First Degree Murder Overview (FindLaw)
- First Degree Murder Penalties and Sentencing (FindLaw)