Arizona father sentenced to 37 years after 'severe physical abuse of his three children'

An Arizona man will spend decades in jail after he was found guilty of "the severe physical abuse of his three children that ultimately led to the death of one child," the Maricopa County Attorney's Office said on May 30.

The children were his three-month-old twins and a 14-month-old baby.

Earlier this year, Dontae Johnson pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse, two counts of attempted child abuse and dangerous crimes against children.

He was sentenced to 37 years in jail and lifetime supervised probation. There's no possibility of him being released during the 37 years.

"By his own admission, this defendant beat and shook his three children. One child tragically, after heroic measures by medical professionals, did not survive," County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said. "The abhorrent facts of this case show this defendant has no place in our community because if he can hurt his own children this way, he can hurt anyone else."

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The abuse was first discovered after Phoenix Police responded to a report of child abuse from hospital staff on Feb. 7, 2020.

Doctors said the twins had fractured ribs, bleeding in the brain, liver lacerations, and were severely dehydrated and malnourished. The third child had five rib fractures and a broken finger.

"Johnson admitted to forcefully shaking the twins on multiple occasions when they wouldn’t stop crying, and to repeatedly hitting and inflicting physical harm to the third child. After undergoing numerous surgeries, the first twin succumbed to her injuries and died. The second twin now suffers from cerebral palsy, along with significant developmental and cognitive delays," the county attorney's office said.

If you observe any incidents of child abuse, it's crucial to take immediate action by contacting your local police department and reaching out to the Arizona Department of Child Safety by calling its hotline at 1-888-SOS-CHILD (1-888-767-2445). Additionally, you can call Childhelp at 1-800-422-4453 for support and assistance.