A young mother was arraigned today on two felony charges for the death of her infant son, who went days without food while strapped in a car seat in the woman’s Wyoming apartment.
Lovily K. Johnson, 22, is charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse in the death of six-month-old Noah Edward Johnson.
Wyoming District Court Judge Steven M. Timmers ordered her held without bond pending her next court appearance. If convicted of the felony charges, Johnson faces mandatory life in prison.
Johnson arrived at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital on Wednesday, July 19 with her son, according to police.
“Upon arrival, Noah was clearly deceased and had been for some time,’’ Wyoming Detective Robert Meredith wrote in a probable cause affidavit. “Johnson . . . admitted that Noah was under her care and no one else’s care for the last four days.
“Johnson admitted to being at home multiple times a day during that time frame,’’ Meredith wrote. “She knowingly and intentionally deprived him of the necessities of life by not feeding him since Monday evening. During this time, Noah remained buckled in a car seat on the upper floor of Johnson’s apartment with no air conditioning.’’
Johnson, who is on probation for embezzling from a business on 28th Street SE, is also the mother of a two-year-old daughter. The daughter on Friday was placed under the supervision of the state Department of Health and Human Services.
During today’s video arraignment in Wyoming District Court, Johnson initially said she did not understand the charges. Timmers reviewed the charges a second time.
“Well, let me make it really clear,’’ Timmers said. “They alleged you killed a young child and that you physically abused it. Does that make sense to you?''
“Yes sir,’’ Johnson responded.
“OK, at least you understand the charges against you,’’ Timmers said. “Bond at this point is going to be denied and you are all set for today.’’
Johnson asked for a court-appointed attorney. She will be back in court for a probable cause hearing on Aug. 2.
Authorities allege the abuse of her son occurred at a home on McKee Avenue south of 26th Street SW where she had been staying.
Wyoming police were notified after Johnson arrived with her son at DeVos Children’s Hospital about 2:35 p.m. on Wednesday. She was arrested several hours later.
In addition to the murder and child abuse charges, she has an upcoming probation violation hearing for a 2016 embezzlement conviction.
She was charged with embezzlement of less than $200 for an incident last August at a business on 28th Street SE. Johnson in September was placed on probation for eight months and ordered to stay away from Woodland Mall, according to records in Kentwood District Court.
Kentwood District Court Judge William G. Kelly issued a probation violation bench warrant last week. Violations include failing to pay fines and court costs, not performing community service and failing to seek and secure a job, court records show.
Johnson was in a tumultuous relationship with the father of her daughter, which includes a child support case and a 2016 personal protection order. The father pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic violence last fall.
A Kent County judge on Friday ordered that her two-year-old daughter be placed under the supervision of the state. Efforts will be made to have the child placed with her grandmother, according to testimony on Friday.