A 26-year-old former Chicago-area resident has been found guilty of murder and child endangerment in the death of his daughter at his southwest Iowa home.
Charles Hall's trial took place last week. A jury returned two guilty verdicts Friday in the May death of 3-year-old Janyiah King at Hall's home in Bedford.
Hall will be sentenced later this month, as will April Clair, 26, who was Hall's live-in girlfriend on May 22 when she found Janyiah's body. Clair has pleaded guilty to child endangerment resulting in bodily injury, a lesser charge than the initial endangerment charge, in return for truthful testimony in Hall's trial.
Janyiah had been staying with Clair and Hall for several weeks leading up to her death. Janyiah normally lived in the Chicago area with her mother, but Clair and Hall had recently had a baby girl together, and Hall and Janyiah's mother wanted to give Janyiah a chance to get to know her little sister, said Clint Spurrier, the Taylor County attorney.
At the trial, Clair testified that on May 22 she left their home at 9 a.m. to help a cousin with groceries. Hall was alone with the child. She returned about 11:30 a.m. to find Hall outside their home, smoking a cigarillo. As he finished smoking, he said he needed to go get a tire fixed and left.
Clair found Janyiah lying on the bathroom floor, unresponsive. She called 911. The first deputy on the scene found Janyiah's body cold to the touch.
The child's body had several recent injuries, including skin on her buttocks and face that had sloughed off from either burning or being struck. She had suffered blunt-force trauma to the backs of her legs and to the right side of her face, and had suffered burns, Spurrier said.
Hall and Clair told investigators they did not seek medical help after the child knocked a pot of boiling water onto herself about two weeks before, according to court documents. Both were charged with child endangerment causing serious injury.
An autopsy found that the child had died of asphyxiation, most likely by drowning, Spurrier said. The bathtub had standing water in it.
The death was ruled a homicide, and prosecutors charged Hall with first-degree murder. Clair continued to face a charge because she did not seek medical help for the child after she suffered the injuries, Spurrier said.