Guilty verdict for Texas mom who threw hot grease at 2-year-old daughter

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Published 10:30 am, Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Lubbock, Texas mom Wednesday was found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and bodily injury after throwing hot grease at her two-year-old daughter. 

Ladonna Johnson, 29, faces probation or up to two to 20 years in prison for the 2015 incident. 

Johnson was accused of causing reckless injury to her child. March 11, 2015, Johnson’s husband, Toria Ellis, was holding the girl when he and Johnson began arguing. According to the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, Johnson then allegedly threw hot grease at him while he was holding her daughter. 

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In a video of a police interview, Johnson said she put hot grease in a deodorant cap and threw it at Ellis before locking herself in a bedroom. He then reportedly ran at her. That’s when Johnson said she grabbed a pan with the remaining hot grease and swung it at him. She said that he used the two-year-old girl as a shield. 

“He shouldn’t have used our baby as a shield. He shouldn’t have put his hands on me,” she said in a video observed by the Lubbock Avalanche Journal.

Officers said that the girl’s skin was peeling off due to the severity of the burns. Child Protective Services removed the child from the home 12 days after the 2015 disturbance. 

“(The girl) spent several days in the hospital,” prosecutor Jessica Schneider said. “She’s going to be permanently scarred for the rest of her life without cosmetic surgery.”

The woman’s defense attorney claimed that it was an act of self defense, citing Ellis’ 5-foot, 11-inch, 428-pound build. Johnson, by contrast, was 5-foot, 11 inches and 177 pounds. Ellis also has a pending domestic assault case from Jan 18.

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Police told jurors they did not see any bruises or signs of injury on the mother that night. The 911 call was replayed in court, and Ellis could be heard telling the operator that Johnson threw grease at him and was threatening to throw more. His defense attorney said that he was in the process of leaving the property when she attacked him.

Lubbock County jurors deliberated just three hours before reaching the guilty verdict. Johnson is out on bond and will face sentencing Thursday. 

See the video above for a look at how emotional abuse can have long-term effects on children.

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