Charges certified against man accused of throwing toddler over fence

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) —  A Virginia Beach judge certified two felony charges to a grand jury and ruled on three misdemeanor charges against a man who led state police on a high-speed chase before tossing a child over a fence in October.

Devonte Jamar Johnson, 22, has been in jail with no bond since being arrested the day of the incident Oct. 10.

A Virginia State Police trooper testified in court Thursday that Johnson ignored flashing lights and sirens and never pulled over on I-64 east as he traveled 19 miles over the marked speed limit of 55 miles per hour.

When the trooper tried to pull Johnson over on Reon Road, he allegedly took off speeding. The trooper says he chased behind at speeds topping 100 miles per hour. He testified that Johnson turned onto Pepper Mill Place, lost control of the car, hit a curb and then slammed into the corner of a townhouse.

The trooper says he asked Johnson to remove the baby from the car, but instead Johnson took the 3-year-old with him on a short foot chase. Johnson allegedly tossed the toddler over a six-foot privacy fence “like a basketball” before trying to scale the fence himself. The trooper says he and a citizen were able to take Johnson down before he could get over the fence.

“He gave the police a statement that someone tried to rob him earlier at a small mart around there somewhere and that initially he was running from those people,” said William Taliaferro, Jr., Johnson’s defense attorney. “He used some pretty bad judgement. There’s no question about it.”

A judge found Johnson guilty on Thursday of three misdemeanor charges of driving on a suspected license, reckless driving and resisting arrest. The combined sentence would require Johnson to serve 15 months and 10 days, but Johnson’s defense attorney say he plans to appeal all three charges.

A judge certified one felony charge of child endangerment and one felony charge of eluding police to a grand jury. They will hear Johnson’s case Feb. 16.

The young victim is reported to be the child of Johnson’s baby’s mother. Court records indicate Johnson has prior convictions of burglary, larceny and unlawful wounding. He was also on active probation when he was pulled over for speeding.

Johnson remains locked up with no bond. He’s scheduled to be back in court Feb. 18.

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