Miller Co. woman sentenced in infant death case

A Miller County woman was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison in connection with the death of her paramour's infant daughter in 2008.

Rosehell Johnson, 37, pleaded guilty on April 1 to charges of voluntary manslaughter and child abuse resulting in the death of 20 month old Ocean McCoy.

The child died on January 30, 2008 at University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia from severe brain injuries due to shaking and non-accidental head trauma inflicted by Johnson the previous day at the family's residence in Brumley.

The case which had been charged in Miller County, but was transferred to Camden County on a change of venue prior to the defendant's guilty pleas.

Miller County Prosecutor Matt Howard noted that a plea agreement crafted by his office with the defendant's attorney required a sentence of 10 years on the charge of manslaughter, but left sentencing to the court's discretion on the remaining count for child abuse which had a possible maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

Before passing sentence, Judge Kenneth Hayden heard what Howard described as emotional victim impact statements from Ocean McCoy's father and family.

Howard said Judge Hayden commented that the limited remorse displayed by the defendant was “troubling”.

Howard stated that he was pleased with the court's sentence, noting “We consistently advocate with our judges for long term sentences in child death cases, because of the gravity of the crime, and what we see as the risk in offenders who are capable of committing these types of acts against children.”

Correction, posted 7:28 p.m.: The original version of this article, posted at 6:21 p.m., incorrectly identified the relationship of the infant to the defendant. The text above has been corrected.

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