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Woman convicted of murdering 14-month-old goddaughter

After a week-long trial, a 25-year-old woman was convicted of murder and two counts of child abuse for killing a toddler in August 2011.

Prosecutors said Mariann Harris beat to death 14-month-old Dyon Johnson on Aug. 13, 2011, possibly with a a metal pipe.

By the time paramedics arrived at Harris’ downtown apartment, Dyon was cold and glassy-eyed. She had been dead for some time before Harris called 911.

Authorities found a metal pipe in the kitchen that had been removed from a bar stool, but it was not completely clear that it was the murder weapon. Prosecutors believed it most likely was used to beat the child.

A doctor at University Medical Center said Dyon’s body and face were covered with fresh bruises and some older wounds that appeared to be healing.

Harris was the girl’s godmother and had been her caretaker for several days.

Defense lawyers suggested Harris’ boyfriend could have killed the toddler, but the jury did not agree.

“This is justice for little Dyon,” prosecutor Dena Rinetti said.

Harris’ lawyers could not be reached for comment, but they are expected to file a motion for a re-trial next week.

A sentencing hearing was set for Dec. 5 before Judge Abbi Silver.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.

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