Thursday, January 18, 2018
News Roundup

Man sentenced to life in prison for granddaughter's 2008 beating death

CLEARWATER — A Largo man will spend the rest of his life in prison after he pleaded guilty Friday to the 2008 murder of his young granddaughter.

Sylvester David Carew, 58, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the killing of 4-year-old Zineah Taylor Johnson. The girl died Aug. 16, 2008, after being severely beaten.

That day, Carew and his girlfriend, Nikki Tyler Gardner-Bradley, took the girl to Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg and said she had been vomiting and was having trouble breathing. She was dead when she arrived in the emergency room. Doctors noted signs of malnutrition and abuse when they examined the girl's lifeless body.

The couple was charged later that year with causing her death. But the cases dragged on over questions of whether Carew and Gardner-Bradley were mentally competent to stand trial.

Carew was repeatedly examined and found incompetent before being sent to a state hospital for treatment. He was found to have been restored to competency in November.

The murder case against Gardner-Bradley is still pending. She was found incompetent to stand trial and is undergoing treatment at a psychiatric facility.

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