FORT WALTON BEACH — Although Kellie Young appreciates the outcome of last week's trial for the man accused of killing her son, she says no one wins in this situation.

 

Jared Leevan Johnson was convicted Thursday and sentenced to life in prison for killing Dominick Johnson, the 5-month-old baby he and Young shared.

 

State Attorney William Eddins announced Friday morning that after hours of jury deliberation, Johnson was convicted of first degree felony murder.

 

“I’m so glad it’s over,” Young said. “They had the opportunity to give him a lesser sentence, but they didn’t.”

 

Young said she respected the jury process and was glad that people who were disconnected from the situation were able to decide Johnson’s sentence based on the facts in front of them.

 

Dominick was brought to the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center on Nov. 9, 2016 by Johnson’s mother and Johnson. Upon arrival, the child had no pulse, no blood pressure, and no respiratory rate. Despite the efforts of the doctors, Dominick could not be revived.

 

The investigation of the case lasted almost 11 months, and Johnson was arrested on Sept. 26, 2017, after being indicted.

 

Testimony at that trial established that the baby had multiple bruises on his forehead, on top of his head, on the back of his head, and on his arms and legs. An autopsy revealed that he had a subdural hematoma, multiple subarachnoid hemorrhages and retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes.

 

“I sat through it all and through all of it the only thing his lawyer could do is discredit each doctor,” Young said of Thursday's trial. “He had nothing.”

 

Young got a chance to go up before Johnson's sentencing and read a speech.

 

“I wasn’t going to because his family was there, and I knew it was going to be hard for them. But it’s not a good day for me either," she said. “I felt like it was my last chance to speak for Dominick, and my last chance to let Jared hear how I feel.”

 

The child was in the sole care of Johnson from the morning of Nov. 8, 2016, until his death on Nov. 9, according to the State Attorney's Office.

 

Young testified that when she dropped him off on Nov. 8, he had no bruising. A video of the baby found on Johnson’s phone, which was recorded on Nov. 8, confirmed there was no bruising on his face at that time.

 

Johnson’s explanation for the injuries was that he was allowing his son to float in a bathtub with the assistance of pool noodles turned into floaties. While floating on his back, Johnson claimed the baby flipped to his front and hit his head on the bathtub faucet.

 

Various experts called by the state — including an emergency room pediatrician, a neuropathologist, an ophthalmologist, and a medical examiner — testified that the injuries were not consistent with Johnson’s version of events. The injuries indicated non-accidental, blunt force trauma.

 

“The worst part of it all was … we wasted the judge’s time, we wasted the State Attorney’s time, we wasted the jury’s time — we wasted everyone’s time in there, because Jared should have came out and admitted what happened in the beginning," Young said. "He knew he was guilty.”

 

Although she learned that Johnson was responsible for Dominick’s death, Young said she hates that she will never know what actually happened that day.

 

“It’s hard for me to accept this, too. Jared was my best friend,” she said. “But it’s what right; it’s what needed to happen. I’ll never get to speak to my son again, but (Johnson's family) will still be able to communicate with him.”

 

Johnson was sentenced by the Honorable William F. Stone to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

 

The investigation was conducted by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The trial was held before Judge William F. Stone, and Assistant State Attorney Clifton Drake was responsible for the prosecution.