Kent County

Mom charged with baby's murder: 'It was an accident'

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Wyoming mother accused of leaving her 6-month-old son in a sweltering apartment, strapped in his car seat for days says his death was an accident.

Lovily Johnson spoke with 24 Hour News 8 Friday,  two days after a judge declared a hung jury in her trial for first-degree child abuse and the murder of baby Noah.

The Kent County medical examiner says the infant died in July 2017 from homicidal neglect. Authorities said for three days, baby Noah was left alone in an apartment where tempeartures topped 90 degrees while Johnson went out, shopped and smoked. When she returned home to find him not breathing, she took him to the hospital.

An emergency room doctor testified that by that point, Noah had already been dead for some time. The medical examiner said Noah was starved and dehydrated; diaper rash found on his body was so severe, it melted away some of Noah’s flesh, according to trial testimony.

The prosecution argued in the two-day trial that Johnson was utterly uninterested in caring for Noah, running around with friends as he died.  

But the defense put their contentions into doubt for at least some on the jury which spent six days deliberating before saying it could not reach a verdict.  

Defense attorney Johnathan Schildgen suggested the baby could have died from other causes. He also said his client's difficult life robbed her of the ability to care for herself, much less a child.  

Johnson never took the stand and the jury only heard her in brief, muffled recordings of her interrogation by police. Now, she continues to maintain her innocence. 

“I did love him. He was my baby. I cared a lot about him," Johnson said from the common room in the Kent County Jail Friday. “It was an accident that it was never meant to, it was never my intention, I would never hurt either of my kids.” 

Johnson would not go into more details of what happened to her child. 

Johnson has been in jail for more than 13 months and will remain there for at least three more while she waits for a new trial, which is scheduled for Nov. 26. If convicted, she could spend the rest of her life in prison.


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