Devell Johnson charged in beating death of 2-year-old - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Devell Johnson charged in beating death of 2-year-old

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A South Side man was charged Monday with the Saturday beating death of a 2-year-old girl.

Devell M. Johnson, 23, of the 5500 block of South Emerald Avenue was charged with one count of first-degree murder and is scheduled to appear in court for a bond hearing Tuesday, Cook County State's Attorney's office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.

Johnson is accused of killing his long-time girlfriend's daughter, Armaney Cotton, who was found with bite and scratch marks at his Johnson's home on Saturday, police and family members said.

Police responded Saturday to a call of an unresponsive child in bed, News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli said. Armaney, of the 1800 block of East 72nd Street, was pronounced dead at 4:42 p.m. that day, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office, which determined she died of multiple injuries from a beating and ruled her death a homicide.

Armaney's mother, Brittany Cotton, and other relatives said the little girl suffered nearly 20 bruises and scratches on her face, arms and chest, as well as at least two bites.

Relatives said they were told by Chicago police the bites appeared to be human.

"This was someone I loved and trusted to protect her, not harm her," Brittany Cotton said. "I don't understand why this happened to her."

Cotton said she left her daughter in his care several times before without any problems.

She had no hint anything was wrong until she picked up a voice mail message Saturday afternoon, with her friend telling her Armaney was taken to the hospital after he was unable to wake the toddler.

Cotton was devastated when she saw the extent of the injuries suffered -- and convinced they couldn't have been inflicted by an accidental fall.

"Babies fall all the time. They don't get cuts and bruises and bites," Cotton said. "She did not fall."

Cotton, who lives with her mother, said she may have to seek donations to pay for her daughter's funeral expenses.

The state's Department of Children and Family Services is investigating, spokesman Kendall Marlowe said. The agency has not had prior contact with the family and there are no other children in the home.

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