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Morrow man gets life for killing infant

By Ed Brock

A Morrow man has been convicted of murder in the death of his 20-month-old step daughter.

Frederick Johnson, 20, was sentenced to life in prison Friday, shortly after the jury returned a guilty verdict for murder in the July 2003 death of Jeannettea Adams.

During Johnson's trial, retired Clayton County Police Detective Rick Barnes testified that Johnson had been with the children all day while Adams was at work, but initially denied spanking or hitting them too hard.

Later Johnson changed his statement, and said during the day he got angry with Jeannettea after she wet her pants.

“He said I shook her but I didn't think I shook her that hard,” Barnes said. “He said he didn't think he'd shaken her hard enough to hurt her.”

Johnson's attorney Joseph Roberto argued the state had not proven that his client had actually caused the child's death and that the baby's mother Kimberly Denise Adams could be culpable.

Clayton County District Attorney Jewel Scott said it is still possible that Adams, who was the lone adult with Jeannettea when she died, could be charged.