11-year-old boy charged in death of 7-month-old brother

11-year-old boy charged in death of 7-month-old brother


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC


Posted on November 14, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 15 at 12:39 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An 11-year-old is now charged with the abuse that led to his 7-month-old brother's death.

The infant's mother, Wendy Latwann Johnson, was charged earlier this week in Camden Johnson's death.

CMPD responded to the home on Saturday on a report of an unresponsive baby. Seven-month-old Camden was taken to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased.

Relatives say the 11-year-old confessed to abusing his brother, and doing it out of jealousy, while his mother ran an errand Saturday and was gone from the house for about 45 minutes.

Police say the charges against the mother remain despite the confession, because not being home to prevent the death was part of the problem.

Relatives say Camden Johnson's older brother dropped him on his head three times.

Court records say injuries included a hemorrhage to the right eye, and injuries to both cheeks, the forehead, nose, back of head and lip.

"We did not come to this decision lightly, or come to this decision quickly," said CMPD Captain Cecil Brisbon, regarding the charges against mother and older brother.

Wendy Johnson's mother says due to the 11-year-old's confession, charges against Johnson should be reduced. She says Johnson is neither a child abuser, nor child killer.

"The mother was not home at the time of the actual event," Brisbon said.

But police say not being there for her kids when this happened played a role in their decision to charge her.

So too say state statutes, which include when someone dies by a culpably negligent act or omission.

"Understandably, the grandmother is upset with her daughter being charged and I understand that," said Brisbon.  "However, it goes back to what I've said before, which is basically we charge based upon the total picture and charge everyone responsible in all cases, and that's what this was -- a case where ultimately the mother bears some responsibility for that action, and therefore was criminally charged."

Police say it appears the injuries that killed Camden were not long-term abuse injuries.

The 11-year-old is charged as a juvenile and is in the custody of his grandparents.

“The charge itself is driven by the allegations and the facts. The age is what governs where it is charged,” said criminal defense attorney Melissa Owen.

She says because he is under 13 years of age, the only option is through the juvenile system.

"What the judge finds, not jury finds in the juvenile system is a finding of delinquency rather than guilt,” she said. “The concept behind juvenile court is that we are trying to repair this child, heal this child and return him to society as a healthy productive adult."