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Denver man gets 40 years in prison in death of girlfriend's toddler son

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Posted at 10:57 AM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 12:59:27-05

DENVER – A Denver man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the 2015 death of his girlfriend's toddler son, authorities said.

DeLonta Crank, 41, pleaded guilty in August to second-degree murder, according to the Denver District Attorney's Office.

Crank was accused of abusing Javion Johnson, who was 23 months old when he died after being dropped off at a Denver emergency room on July 8, 2015.

Johnson had suffered burns over 15 percent of his body that were consistent being placed in scalding hot water, according to his autopsy and an arrest warrant affidavit. He also suffered contusions and abrasions to his face, hemorrhages in the muscle on the side of his head, liver and the inside of his mouth, and a contusion on his left kidney.

The boy's mother, Candice Lampley, was also arrested in the case. She was initially charged with first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death and child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury. Lampley pleaded guilty in 2016 to child abuse resulting in death and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Court records showed that Lampley told police that Crank called her at work the day before her son's death to say he had to "whoop the baby" because the toddler had a potty training accident on the floor.

Crank was babysitting Javion and his three siblings – ages 9, 7 and 6 – on the afternoon or evening of July 7, according to an arrest affidavit.

After Javion's "potty training accident" upset Crank, the older children said the boyfriend placed the toddler in a high chair and "repeatedly hit him in the head," the affidavit said.

The children said that while their mother normally gave them their bath, Crank bathed them that night. After Javion was rushed to Saint Joseph Hospital the next morning, medical staff found that he had burns across his body and blood in one ear, the affidavit said.

Johnson's death led to the creation of Denver's Child Safety Net Impact Team, designed to improve coordination between agencies to protect at-risk children and families.

“While I am pleased this case is now behind us, Javion’s death and the horrific details surrounding it continue to affect everyone involved including Javion’s three young siblings who witnessed the abuse and were also victims of it,” Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a news release.

Crank had a history of violent crimes.

In 2007, Denver police arrested Crank for investigation of menacing with a weapon, assault and child abuse – all felonies.

His then-girlfriend told police that during an argument, Crank hit her over the head with a pair of scissors, punched her in the stomach and held a knife to her throat while threatening to kill her. He then kicked her repeatedly while she was lying on the ground, according to court records.

The couple's 1-year-old son watched all this happening, a police report said. Crank fled the scene, but was arrested when he later returned home.

He pleaded guilty to felony menacing with a real or simulated weapon and prosecutors dismissed the assault charge, court records show. He was never formally charged with child abuse in this case.

Crank was initially sentenced to two years of probation for the menacing conviction. But he had his probation revoked after failing drug tests, missing drug tests and failing to meet with his probation office on dozens of occasions.

In August 2011, Crank admitted that he'd showed up to meet his probation officer after smoking three marijuana "blunts." An officer patted him down and found a bag of marijuana on him.

In a letter pleading with the judge for leniency, Crank wrote that he suffered from bipolar disorder and depression. "My life has become in turmoil, and this has caused severe anguish, and triggered an off set in my mental illness," he stated.

In October 2011, he was sentenced to one year in the Department of Corrections, court records show.