A Georgia man broke the thighbone of a 9-month-old boy he was babysitting, leading to the tot’s death, according to a disturbing new report.
Dehaven Johnson, 28, of Sandy Springs, was arrested on April 1 on charges of felony murder, aggravated battery and cruelty to children in the death of the boy, Jelani Williams, who was found unresponsive at the man’s apartment on March 31, police said.
Jelani was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, and the autopsy revealed severe injuries he suffered allegedly caused by Johnson, police said.
The boy’s fatal injuries were not revealed by cops at the time, but a doctor told police Jelani’s femur had been broken in half, according to an arrest warrant obtained Thursday by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The battered boy also had a contusion on his forehead and bruising to his back, a physician told cops, according to the report.
Johnson insisted to police that Jelani had fallen after the boy’s mother dropped him off at his residence as she went to a club. Less than three hours later, police said he sent the boy’s mother a photo that reportedly depicted some of his injuries.
“In the picture, you can see a deformity to the left leg and an abrasion starting to form on his forehead,” police wrote in the warrant.
Johnson said he left his living room for “about two minutes” and returned to see Jelani choking on formula. He then got in touch with the boy’s mother, who told him to call 911 — which Johnson did, saying the infant was having trouble breathing, police said.
But Johnson’s version of events changed once he was told Jelani’s femur was broken, claiming he “could have” fallen while standing or from a futon, the warrant shows.
Johnson admitted dropping Jelani on a futon, but the boy’s severe injuries “could not have happened” from any circumstance he described, police said.
Johnson remained held without bond Friday at the Fulton County Jail, records show. It’s unclear if he’s hired an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
An online fundraiser set up in the boy’s memory had eclipsed $1,000 as of Friday.
“Jelani was taken too soon in his life at the hands of his babysitter,” organizer Olythina Holt wrote. “Jelani was a happy little one and the center of his family. He made a big impact on so many in just the little time he was here with us.”