In October last year, then-18 year old Andrew Keith Johnston’s one-month old son would not stop crying while his father tried to play video games. This week, Johnston pleaded guilty to causing the baby’s death, and will spend most of the next 30 years in prison.
Johnston claims he picked up the child and shook him violently, causing a brain hemmorhage which killed the infant a week later.
A plea bargain saw Johnston enter a “best interest” plea to charges of second degree murder despite an original first degree charge, avoiding the death penalty. Instead, the court sentenced him to 27 years in prison.
In a written statement, Johnston explains that the baby had been crying in his bassinet while he’d been playing video games, and that he had become “irritated” at the interruption.
I came over to him, held him in my hands and squeezed him harder than what was intended. I then took both of his legs and shook him with enough force to hurt him.
The trauma of the attack did not kill the baby instantly. Johnston – realising what he had done – held the infant under cold water in the shower in an attempt to revive him, but eventually called the ambulance when the baby was still unresponsive.
Suffering from hypothermia, the baby was kept under observation for 36 hours. A CT scan revealed “severe hemorrhaging” in his brain, and the infant’s left eye remained dilated. Further examinations also revealed broken ribs and bruised fingerprint marks on one of his legs.
Despite being flown to another hospital for specialist treatment, the baby died a week after sustaining his injuries when his life support was removed.
The autopsy stated the death was homicide through “non-accidental trauma”, and the child’s father was brought in for questioning.
According to local media, Amanda Voss, the baby’s mother, explained to police that she had left Johnston and his son at home alone for less than ten minutes as she went to buy groceries.