Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dad found guilty of felony murder in death of 3-month-old daughter (Lansing, Michigan)

This guy sounds like useless deadbeat trash. He couldn't even bother to call 911 on this own, but had to text the mother that the baby wasn't breathing?

Dad is identified as JOHN HAROLD SANDERS.

Lansing dad guilty in death of infant daughter

6:20 AM, December 6, 2013

By Kevin Grasha

Gannett Michigan

A 38-year-old Lansing man was found guilty late Thursday of first-degree felony murder and first-degree child abuse in the death of his infant daughter.

John Harold Sanders will be sentenced to life in prison without parole. Under state law, that is the mandatory punishment for a first-degree murder conviction. Sentencing is set for Jan. 15, 2014 in Ingham County Circuit Court before Judge William Collette.

According to his own statements to police and others, Sanders was alone with his 3-month-old daughter Ja’Nayjah the morning of Jan. 4 when she suffered violent head injuries and stopped breathing. He never gave an explanation about how she suffered those injuries.

In closing arguments Thursday, Ingham County Assistant Prosecutor Mike Cheltenham said Sanders was tired that morning. He hadn’t been sleeping well. His relationship with Ja’Nayjah’s mother was strained. He was working only sporadically. He was undergoing treatment for long-term marijuana use, and crack cocaine was found in his apartment

“He was at a breaking point,” Cheltenham said.

All those factors taken together, Cheltenham told jurors, help explain why a father would inflict such violence upon his own child.

In his closing arguments, Sanders’ attorney, Joe Ernst, suggested that Ja’Nayjah’s injuries could have been accidental — caused by Sanders as he frantically tried to revive her — or caused by someone else.

Sanders was dating Ja’Nayjah’s mother, 20-year-old Shamarrie Kittle, although their relationship had become strained. They lived together for about a year but Kittle moved out shortly before Christmas 2012. The night of Jan. 3, Kittle brought Ja’Nayjah to Sanders’ apartment.

The following morning, Kittle took a bus to the county health department to fill her infant formula card.

Kittle was at the health department when Sanders sent her a text message, saying Ja’Nayjah had stopped breathing. Sanders called his uncle, who drove him to the hospital. Ja’Nayjah died about 13 hours later. Sanders told several people that he left the infant on a bed to prepare a bottle, and that when he returned she wasn’t breathing.

Ernst raised several possibilities, including that Sanders had, in fact, found Ja’Nayjah not breathing, and “in his best efforts” to revive her, “shook (her) too hard.”

Ernst also placed suspicion on Kittle, asking jurors to consider the possibility that Sanders “could be covering for someone.”

Cheltenham told jurors that all the evidence, including the Sanders’ own statements, show that he was the only person with Ja’Nayjah.

Sanders being responsible for her death, Cheltenham said, is “the (only) explanation that makes sense, based on the evidence…and common sense.”