Bell County man guilty of killing child sentenced to life in prison

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BELL COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) A Bell County jury took only 14 minutes Thursday to decide on life without parole for a man found guilty of killing the 11-month-old child of a woman he was dating at the time.

27-year-old Jeffrey Johnson was sentenced in connection to the July 2015 death of Hannah Anuhea-Rose Davis.

Because he was found guilty of capital murder, but prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty, he was given life without parole.

Johnson told investigators the 11-month-old stopped breathing as he watched her while he was painting, but the findings of a sexual assault nurse examiner and a subsequent autopsy pointed investigators in a different direction, an arrest warrant affidavit says.

The infant was unconscious and not breathing when first responders arrived at around 10:30 a.m. July 29, 205 at a residence in the 7700 block of East U.S. Highway 190 southeast of Temple.

The girl was taken to McLane Children's Hospital in Temple where she was pronounced dead about three hours later.

An autopsy determined the infant, who would have turned 1 on Aug. 4, 2015, died of blunt force injuries and was sexually assaulted.

The affidavit released Wednesday says paramedics observed contusions on her abdomen, blood on her diaper and active bleeding from her rectum.

A report prepared by the sexual assault nurse examiner confirmed anal and rectal injuries and the doctor who performed the autopsy told an investigator that the infant's "anus had been penetrated by some object," the affidavit said.

The infant's mother told the investigator that everything about the girl appeared normal when she changed and dressed her on the morning of July 29.

She said Johnson took the infant to a nearby apartment where he was painting, the affidavit said.

But about an hour later, when the mother when to the apartment, she found Johnson performing CPR on her daughter, the affidavit said.

Johnson told an investigator that he had "observed that she quit breathing and he began to perform CPR," the affidavit said.

He confirmed that from the time he left the mother's residence that he was alone with the infant, the affidavit said.