Bleeding juror delays deliberations in baby murder trial

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A medical issue has delayed the deliberations of a Kent County jury through the weekend.

The jury went back to work Friday morning, trying to decide whether to convict 23-year-old Lovily Johnson of murder in the death of her 6-month-old son. Authorities say she left her son Noah alone in a sweltering Wyoming apartment for three days before he died in July 2017.

After more than 14 hours of deliberation, a juror was taken to the hospital because she was bleeding in the jury room, forcing the judge to delay proceedings until Monday.

An emergency room doctor testified at the start of Johnson’s trial Tuesday that by the time she brought him to the hospital, he was already dead. The medical examiner testified Noah died of neglect, but Johnson’s defense attorney Jonathan Schildgen has argued there’s no proof of that.

Schildgen presented Johnson as a single mother in over her head, but Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said she knowingly put Noah in the dangerous situation that led to his death.

Jurors began deliberating late Wednesday afternoon and then continued all day Thursday without reaching a verdict.

If convicted, Johnson faces life in prison.

But she could appeal because jail staff opened a letter she sent to her attorney and forwarded its contents to police — though detectives and prosecutors say they didn’t read it. Jail officials said it was an “honest mistake.”

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