On Tuesday, a DeKalb County jury acquitted a man of murdering a 2-year-old. The child was killed in early 2007 by a blow to the stomach that caused her internal organs to rupture.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has the story.

Rodney Terrell Hood was arrested for the death Maya Johnson and charged with cruelty to children, aggravated assault, felony murder and malice murder. Hood had been living with Maya’s mother for a few months in an apartment. Hood’s three children who ranged in age from 3 to 5 also lived in the apartment. On the night Maya was killed, her mother had gone out for the evening and left Hood in charge of the kids. Sometime while she was out, Maya sustained a blow to the abdomen which nearly caused her organs to explode.

Hood’s attorney, Corinne M. Mull, argued that one of the other children caused the fatal blow and not Hood. Mull produced evidence that one of the boys was removed from a day care for kicking a child in the head. Another boy was taken off a bus for kicking a child in the face. Most importantly, Mull showed that one child had previously jumped off a piece of furniture and landed on Maya’s abdomen. That incident scarred her pancreas. Mull argued that whichever child caused the scarred pancreas was also the child that caused her death.
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