Verdict Reached In Tulsa Child Abuse Murder Case

Wednesday, April 11th 2018, 9:36 pm
By: Ashley Izbicki

There have been new developments in the case of a toddler beaten so badly he died. 

4/4/2018 Related Story: Trial Starts For Man Suspected In Death Of A Tulsa Toddler

A Tulsa County Jury found Johnny Jones guilty of child neglect for his role in the murder, recommending a 40-year sentence.

2-year-old King Owens was dropped off at the hospital with a massive brain injury, four fractured ribs, and his little body covered in bruises. 

Three people were charged in the case, including Jones, and prosecutors said they're satisfied with the jury's decision.

The innocent face of 2-year-old King Owen is one Tulsa County Assistant District Attorneys Sarah McAmis and Andrea Brown say they'll never forget.

"He was an absolutely beautiful child. But he was tortured," said Sarah McAmis. 

"King was dropped off at the hospital like a bag of trash. He had a hole in the back of his head," Brown said. 

"Nobody knew who he was, nobody knew his history, nobody knew what had happened to him," said McAmis. 

Surveillance video from Hillcrest Hospital led detectives to Johnny Jones' girlfriend, Dominick Smith. 

The toddler's mother dropped him off with the two at an apartment complex in March of last year.

Smith is now charged with first-degree child abuse murder, accused of beating King with a belt and bamboo backscratcher because he wouldn't stop crying and then giving him a half bottle of NyQuil before leaving him at the hospital. 

"He went unconscious … he was gasping for air, and Johnny Jones was more worried about himself. All he had to do was call 911 and perhaps King's life could have been spared," said McAmis. 

Jones didn't testify in court and lied to police in several interviews. This is his fourth felony conviction. 

"We're just pleased that not only did the jury take into consideration his prior history, and the many chances he's gotten since he's gotten out, but also the seriousness of what happened to King," said Brown.   

"It's incomprehensible that you could watch a stranger suffer the way that he literally watched this baby suffer, and did nothing," said McAmis.  

A judge will now formally sentence Jones. Prosecutors say because of his age, it's almost like a life sentence since it's unlikely he'll get out.

His girlfriend and King's mother are set to go to trial in October.