CINCINNATI – A judge sentenced a man who fatally punched his own child to eight years in prison Thursday.
Shavale Johnson, 27, punched 3-month-old Asia Cathey-Johnson in the face April 28, 2014. She died from the injury. Prosecutors called it a “one-punch deathblow.”
The case had been going for years because Johnson had previously been found incompetent to stand trial. The court eventually found him competent.
Johnson initially faced charges of aggravated murder and child endangering. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter earlier this month.
Wilkes Ellsworth, Johnson’s attorney, said Johnson felt “genuine remorse.” The defense asked for the minimum three-year sentence.
“This is so painful,” Johnson’s mother, Takeitha Johnson, said. “But I know that he did not mean to harm his child.”
Prosecutors weren’t convinced. They asked for the 11-year maximum sentence.
“When you’re striking a child that’s only 3 months-old and he’s a grown man and a good size person that you have to assume there’s going to be serious physical harm,” state’s attorney Seth Teiger said.
Judge Nadine Allen said Johnson will get credit for the 822 days he’s already spent behind bars. Once he’s out, he will remain on post-release control for five years.
“He should not really ever be a parent to any newborn again,” Allen said. “And I hope the other children don’t spend much time with you.”