Jury continues deliberations in shaken baby case

By Ed Brock

A jury is expected to continue deliberations today in the murder trial of a man accused of violently shaking and killing a 20-month-old baby girl.

Frederick Johnson, 20, was baby-sitting Jeannettea Adams on July 3, 2003, the day she died. In closing arguments on Johnson's attorney Joseph Roberto said his client had admitted to disciplining the girl and even shaking her.

In statements he gave to police he said he shook the child but not hard enough to do serious injury.

“He does not admit to violently shaking that child,” Roberto said. “He did not do that and (the state) did not prove that.”

Meanwhile Clayton County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney John Turner showed pictures of past injuries that Jeannettea had suffered and said they showed a pattern of abuse. They included bruises under the skin on her head and elbow and even a black eye.

“Somebody hit that child in the eye and we know who it was,” Turner said in his closing arguments. “You don't accidentally hit a child in the eye ... that's deliberate abuse.”

Roberto said the girl's mother, Kimberly Denise Adams, was also a likely suspect in the case.

On the day of the death Adams told police that she had brought the baby to the Jacuzzi in her apartment complex in Morrow around 3 a.m. Adams initially told police that Jeannettea had begun swallowing water in the tub and that she had dropped the baby after getting out of the tub, after which she brought the child back to the apartment where Jeannettea died.

However an autopsy later showed that Jeannettea died from “shaken baby syndrome.” Turner told the jury that the shaking had caused damage to the girl's spinal cord.

The jury began deliberation Thursday afternoon and is expected to return today.