Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

Tampa father now faces murder charge after 2-month-old baby dies from injuries

TAMPA — The 2-month-old baby boy who ended up in a hospital last week with a fractured skull died in a hospital Friday. The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner over the weekend declared the death of Kent Hawkins Johnson Jr. a homicide.

Now the father, Kent Hawkins Johnson Sr., faces new charges: first-degree murder and aggravated child neglect.

The 23-year-old father was first arrested Dec. 29 on two counts of aggravated child abuse. The infant arrived at a local hospital with severe injuries about 4:30 a.m. Dec. 28. His skull was fractured, and he had a broken femur and ribs, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Johnson was taking care of the baby Dec. 19 when the child suffered rib and femur injuries, according to an arrest report. Then on Dec. 27, the report said, Johnson struck the baby's head.

The father told deputies he held the baby over his head and spun him in circles, the report said. He said he fell along with the baby, who landed on the tile floor. The baby cried for about a half-hour.

The father then said he picked him up off the floor by his leg, the report said. He told deputies the femur and rib injuries were likely a result of that. He also told deputies, the report said, that he intentionally hit the baby because he was crying.

A doctor with the sheriff's child protection team examined the baby Dec. 28 and said the skull injury happened within the prior 24 hours, according to the Sheriff's Office, while the other injuries were seven to 10 days old.

Johnson, who now faces a total of four felony charges, has been in the Hillsborough County jail since Dec. 29. He remained there Tuesday, held without bond.

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