News Releases

December 16, 2015: Woman Sentenced to Prison for Killing Toddler in La Puente

Sarah Ardalani, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A 22-year-old woman was sentenced today to 25 years to life in state prison for fatally beating a toddler in 2012, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On Nov. 18, a jury found defendant Niesiia Johnson guilty of second-degree murder and assault on a child causing death in case KA100181.

Deputy District Attorney Deborah Shaw Scott of the Victim Impact Program said Johnson babysat the young victim, identified as Atreyu M., for the child’s mother on multiple weekends during the three months before his death. The boy had been with the defendant for the ten days leading up to his killing, the prosecutor said.

In the early morning of July 31, 2012, Johnson was at her La Puente home with the 2-year-old boy. The defendant claimed that after she exited the shower, she found the boy hunched over and bleeding from his nose and mouth, the prosecutor said.

The defendant called out for help and a housemate dialed 911 for emergency assistance. Paramedics arrived at the residence and the child was taken to the hospital, where he later died, according to the prosecutor.

Following months of investigation into the child’s death, Johnson was charged on Nov. 29, 2012, in connection with the killing.

According to court testimony, the boy’s body exhibited extensive abuse including severe bruising on his face and buttocks, internal bleeding and whip marks on several areas of his body. Atreyu ultimately died from a subdural hematoma, which is bleeding on the brain, the prosecutor said.

Blood found in the defendant’s bathroom, bedroom and clothing linked her to the fatal beating, the prosecutor added.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.