MANNING, S.C. -- A Clarendon County man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his 9-month-old son as the baby sat in a high chair and the child's 59-year-old grandmother.
The deaths were the end of a violent relationship with the child's mother, Solicitor Ernest "Chip" Finney III said.
A jury found Justin Johnson guilty Thursday of two counts of murder, kidnapping and other charges. He was found not guilty of attempted murder against the child's mother, according to The Sumter Item.
Johnson's family asked Circuit Judge Jeffrey Young for mercy before he handed down his sentence, but the judge refused.
"You were shown mercy when the solicitor did not seek the death penalty in this case, Young said.
After an argument about money and whether the baby boy was really his son, Johnson beat his girlfriend and her mother, Maxine Carraway, in their home in April 2011. He then went outside and got a shotgun, prosecutors said.
He killed the grandmother outside as he tried to run. Crime scene photos showed the curlers in her hair spread across the grass from the shot that killed her. Johnson then came inside the home and told his girlfriend "you made me do this" before shooting the baby in the high chair, according to testimony.
"To have a baby sitting in a high chair gunned down by your hand is absolutely beyond understanding," Young said.
Johnson will not be eligible for parole.
Information from: The Sumter Item, http://www.theitem.com