Baltimore, MD – A man convicted of killing his seven-month-old son in 2012 has now been convicted of beating his girlfriend’s 17-month-old son to death.
Francois Brown, 36, was found guilty of the second child’s murder on Aug. 26, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“I’m just blessed that the verdict was guilty,” the toddler’s mother, Whitney West, told reporters before she walked away from the courthouse.
According to prosecutors, Brown and West met on the dating website Plenty of Fish in 2018.
West, a mother of three, testified that Brown had told her that police attempted to pin his son’s death on him in 2012, but that he claimed he was cleared of any wrongdoing, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“He told me that he was not guilty,” West told the court.
One day in July of 2018, Brown took West’s children to a nearby playground so West could get some housework done.
When they returned, her 17-month-old son, Zaray, went down for a nap, West said.
The mother went to check on the little boy when he slept longer than usual, and realized that he wasn’t breathing, The Baltimore Sun reported.
She frantically called 911 and performed CPR on Zaray, but he succumbed to his injuries at a hospital later that night.
An autopsy revealed that the toddler suffered from internal bleeding, bruises to his face, and a fractured clavicle.
Doctors also found that his bowels had been torn, likely by blows to his abdomen, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“Zaray had been punched multiple times,” Assistant State’s Attorney Michele Lambert told the jury. “Blows so terrible that they tore his intestines. He lost so much blood in his bowel that he eventually died.”
Prosecutors said that Brown viciously beat the little boy as they were walking home from the playground.
Zaray’s older brother, who was just eight years old at the time, witnessed the attack and testified at Brown’s trial, WBAL reported.
Brown’s attorney attempted to convince the jury that Zaray had fallen while playing at the playground, and alleged that the eight-year-old was lying, according to WBAL.
The jury found Brown guilty of first-degree child abuse resulting in death and second-degree murder.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 7, and faces life in prison plus 51 years.
Brown served less than three years in prison for murdering his own son, Kendall, in late 2012, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Kendall died after being hospitalized for brain bleeding and fractured ribs.
Brown made an Alford plea in that case – never admitting he was responsible for his baby’s death – and was sentenced to 15 years in prison with all but four years suspended for child abuse resulting in death, The Baltimore Sun reported.
He was released in December of 2015, having served just two years and 11 months in prison.
Brown was also accused of assaulting another girlfriend’s daughter approximately two years after he was released from prison, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Prosecutors said that he broke the child’s leg and bruised her ribs, but he was never charged in connection with that incident.
“The defendant meets women,” Lambert said during Brown’s most recent trial. “Within a few months, their children are injured.”
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said that the attack on Zaray was “unfathomable,” The Baltimore Sun reported.
“Any person who outright abuses a harmless and indefensible baby lacks human decency and deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and removed from society,” Mosby said. “We certainly hope this guilty verdict brings deserved closure and offers Zaray’s family a start toward healing.”