On Monday, a 21-year-old man pleaded guilty to the aggravated child abuse charge in the death of a 2-year-old. Last April, Jamarius Devonti Graham beat his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter, Aaliyah Lewis, after she soiled the bed.
Lewis’s death took place at the home of Graham and his girlfriend, Donisha Barlow, in Northwest Jacksonville, Florida.
According to News4Jax, Graham was babysitting Aaliyah on April 21, 2016, when her mother was at work. Barlow typically left Aaliyah with her grandfather; however, he was unavailable and thought Graham could watch her.
During the day, Graham spoke with Barlow about her daughter and mentioned that he needed to spank her for wetting the bed, but he assured Barlow that the beating was not excessive.
Later in the day, Graham picked up Barlow from work. Barlow did notice 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.