Tiara Johnson was sentenced to 14 years in prison for beating her girlfriend’s 3-year-old son to death after she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and domestic violence.
Johnson, 27, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of toddler Alen Sams VI. That charge was dismissed as part of a plea deal.
“This is a just result. The State makes tough calls and we, as citizens, benefit from diligent prosecutors that care more about justice than convictions. We applaud them for recognizing that this case was one of involuntary manslaughter, rather than murder,” said Johnson’s attorney, Patrick Sullivan.
“I’m proud of the police and prosecutors that had the courage to move forward in this case case, despite the forensic challenges. They fight everyday like this in tough cases,” St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said.
Johnson entered the plea before St. Clair County Circuit Judge Steve McGlynn in exchange for the 14 year prison sentence.
Johnson will also have to register on the Violent Offender Against Youth registry. Johnson has been in the St. Clair County Jail since she was charged. She will get credit for the time she served. She could be released around 2023.
Alen died from head injuries on Feb. 26, 2016. A 911 call brought police to the home in the 5500 block of Caseyville Avenue in Washington Park The caller reported the child fell down the stairs. Johnson was the only adult with Alen when the emergency call went out.
Dyamond Honore, the child’s mother, told police she left the house and walked to the Hustler Club where she worked as a dancer. She had just arrived at the club when Johnson called her and told her that Alen fell down the stairs. Emergency medical technicians found Alen dead on arrival.
Johnson and Honore were each charged with abusing the boy, but it was Johnson who was charged with murder for the beating death of young Alen.
Honore had sent a text to a friend that same morning stating “I want to beat the life out of him,” according to police reports.
An autopsy showed the toddler was battered, with injuries in varying stages of healing.
In exchange for anticipated testimony against Johnson, Honore received a four-year prison sentence, but received credit for time served on electronic monitoring. Under the agreement, she won’t serve any prison time. In exchange for that plea agreement, Honore was released on an electronic monitor then was allowed to move to St. Louis, where she now lives with her wife. She has asked to move to San Diego so she can be near her family.
In her plea hearing, Honore admitted that both she and Johnson physically disciplined Alen in the days leading up to his death and that some of the discipline “was excessive.” Honore denied inflicting any head injury. She also admitted to leaving Alen with Johnson, who she knew was beating the boy.