Montrose man pleads guilty to murdering five-month-old daughter


A Montrose man pleaded guilty to murdering his five-month old daughter, Isabella, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Darnell Jerome Davis, 27, pleaded guilty to second-degree, unintentional murder. He was sentenced to 204 months in prison, which was 24 months more than the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend due to the age and vulnerability of the victim, the particular cruelty of the crime and that Davis did not provide any aid to his daughter and gave inaccurate information to first responders and other medical personnel about the cause of the baby’s injuries.

According to the criminal complaint, on the morning of August 21, 2016, police and paramedics arrived at a house in Rogers on a report of an infant who was not breathing. The child’s mother called police after she received a call at work from her boyfriend, Davis, who had been at home alone with their daughter. When he called his girlfriend, Davis said that their daughter had suffered a seizure, but he told first responders that he noticed the baby was not breathing normally after he gave her a bottle.

In court on Tuesday afternoon, Davis admitted that he was tired and trying to sleep, but the baby was crying for about a half an hour straight. He tried to get her to stop, but nothing worked. Davis said he panicked and shook his daughter harder than he meant to.

According to his attorney, Davis shook the baby so hard that it caused bleeding in her brain and nerve damage to her spinal cord and neck.

The baby was transported to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis and emergency surgery was performed. Two days later, a pediatrician specializing in child abuse reported that the baby appeared to have suffered abusive head trauma. The baby died on August 25.

Phillip Murphy, the baby’s grandfather, gave impact statements on behalf of the baby’s mother and grandmother. The baby’s mother said her world has been turned upside down. She now suffers from anxiety and depression and feels like she is in a black hole. She has shut herself off from the world.
“You took her away from me,” the mother wrote. “She was the light of my life and now I have only darkness.”

On behalf of the baby’s grandmother, Murphy said, “You robbed my daughter of so many of Isabella’s firsts, her first tooth, her first steps, her first birthday. We will forever be heartbroken.”