Kenneth Johnson: California Man Confessed To Punching Toddler To Death, Will Face No Criminal Charges

Kenneth Johnson, a Fresno, California man who confessed to punching a 14-month-old toddler to death, will not face any criminal charges, WGHP (Greensboro) is reporting.

On November 20, Johnson’s girlfriend, who had a restraining order against him, according to KFSN (Fresno), came by to visit. The girlfriend was roommates with the baby’s mother. Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said that the restraining order had been in place for three years.

“There was a temporary restraining order, a three-year restraining order, that had been issued by the courts that would prevent him from being in his girlfriends presence, which happened to be the babysitter,”

There, authorities say, Johnson, who has a history of domestic violence, grew tired of the baby’s crying and “snapped.” He allegedly punched 14-month-old Jose Luis Espinoza to death.

Police were later called to St. Agnes Medical Center, according to The Fresno Bee, after staff there alerted police to the baby’s suspicious death. A later autopsy would determine that the baby died of internal trauma, according to Dyer.

Cops later arrested Johnson and brought him in for questioning.

At first, Johnson denied having harmed the baby. However, following an hours-long interrogation, Johnson allegedly admitted to punching the baby after becoming frustrated by his crying. In addition to Johnson’s confession, surveillance camera footage from the apartment complex where the murder took place showed Johnson leaving the apartment at about the time Espinoza was killed.

Johnson was then charged with murder.

Neighbor Hollis Patrick-Johnson, no relation to Kenneth, says he had seen Kenneth around before but had no idea that he had violent tendencies.

“When I seen him he’s been a good man, he’s been taking care of the kids, but I never expected anything like this to happen. Just a tragic sad situation what happened, you have to be on guard who you keep your kids and who you stay around.”

Despite Johnson’s confession, and despite damning security camera footage, prosecutors will not be filing charges against him. Because there were no visible bruises on the toddler’s body, prosecutors are unable to connect Kenneth Johnson to any physical evidence. KFSN reports that authorities are “confident” Johnson is the murderer, but due to lack of evidence, they cannot indict him. Detectives working the case have not been asked to submit any further evidence.

In a statement to The Fresno Bee, Dyer said he believes that charges against Johnson might yet be forthcoming.

“The District Attorney’s office has not requested any further investigative work of our detectives. However, they are requesting further examination by the Coroner’s Office. We remain confident that Kenneth Johnson is responsible for the death of 14-month-old José Espinosa. Fresno Police Department detectives are committed to working closely with the District Attorney’s office to ensure successful prosecution of this case.”

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Johnson, for his part, apologized.

“I just apologize for the situation– I just don’t know right now.”

Kenneth Johnson is not the first person to be connected to a heinous crime against a child and receive no jail time. In September, according to this report by the Inquisitr, news emerged from Iowa that a man named Kaigen Grooms, 19, had filmed himself committing a sex act with a one-year-old child and shared the video on the internet with child pornographers.

Do you think there’s enough evidence against Kenneth Johnson to bring criminal charges against him?

[Featured Image by Fresno Police Department]

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