A 21-year-old man pleaded guilty to the aggravated child abuse charge in the death of a 2-year-old. Jamarius Devonti Graham beat his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter, Aaliyah Lewis, after she soiled the bed.
According to News4Jax, Graham was babysitting Aaliyah on April 21, 2016, when her mother was at work.
During the day, Graham told his girlfriend he needed to spank her daughter for wetting the bed, but he assured her that the beating was not excessive.
Later in the day, when Graham picked up Barlow from work, she noticed marks on Aaliyah’s chest; however, she was afraid to take her to the hospital because she feared her daughter would be taken away.
After 90 minutes, Aaliyah’s breathing became labored and Graham took her and Barlow to Fire Station No. 2 on North Main Street in Springfield. When they arrived, Aaliyah wasn’t breathing. Rescuers tried to resuscitate the girl, but they couldn’t save her.
The girl was taken to a hospital where she was announced dead on arrival.
The medical examiner reported the official cause of death is unknown; however, Graham admitted to hitting Aaliyah with a belt and hanger, according to the arrest warrant.
Based on the autopsy, Aaliyah suffered multiple bruises and lacerations. She also had multiple traumatic injuries to her head, torso and extremities, as well as fluid and swelling in her lungs and brain.
Aaliyah’s parents and grandparents spoke to News4Jax about the toddler.
“It’s very tough, very tough to listen to details,” said Andre Lewis Sr., Aaliyah’s paternal grandfather.
“He had no business putting his hands on my granddaughter anyway. Regardless of what he said or what he felt or what she did, he had no business putting his hands on her.”
No charges have been filed against Barlow.