A 14-year-old boy in Jacksonville will be charged as an adult in the Aug. 16 death of a 3-year-old girl he was babysitting.
Johnathan Godwin was charged with second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse, WTLV reported. He remains in a juvenile detention facility by court order.
According to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office news release, Godwin was watching the girl for several hours. When she began crying, Godwin repeatedly punched her in the chest, back, legs, and head with his fist and a belt, police said.
The suspect’s mom found the toddler unresponsive and she took the 3-year-old to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Godwin had a history of abusing and burning another small child, according to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office investigators.
The State Attorney’s Office wants Goodwin charged as an adult, saying the public interest requires that adult sanctions be imposed, according to a filing formalized this week. The decision to prosecute a juvenile as an adult is only the judgment of prosecutors.