A 24-year-old man from Rockville, Maryland, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his baby daughter before killing her.
Robert Davidson admitted he was guilty of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree and child abuse resulting in death in the first degree, The Washington Post reported.
As part of a plea deal, the prosecution dropped another charge of second degree murder.
Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Herdman stated in court Nov. 28 that 10-week-old Aleah had a broken collar bone and 34 rib fractures in various stages of healing when she died. The autopsy suggests these injuries occurred in at least three separate assaults by Davidson.
The exact nature of the sexual abuse was not confirmed. Davidson’s attorney, Ronald Gottlieb, noted that his client said he was trying to get mucus and other substances from Aleah’s body.
“He never admitted to doing it for a sexual gratification, but the actual act itself he has admitted to,” Gottlieb added.
Davidson called emergency services on June 23, 2015, and reported Aleah was unresponsive. Lorena Thompson, Aleah’s mother and Davidson’s partner, was at work at the time.
Paramedics arrived to find Davidson attempting to perform CPR on the child.
Davidson initially told police he was playing video games when he heard labored breathing from Aleah’s room and found her unresponsive. He later he acknowledged he had shaken the baby and dropped her on several occasions.
He also told police that Aleah fell off the couch in one incident.
“Very rare, tragic, unconscionable,” Montgomery County Police spokesman Paul Starks said of the incident when charges were filed in August 2015, according to The Washington Post.
Doctors treating Aleah at the hospital also found she had injuries to her head, spine and eyes.
Aleah died three days after being rushed to hospital. She was 10 weeks old.
Thompson pleaded guilty to neglect in the case. The charge was brought against her after she admitted seeing bruises on Aleah’s body but did nothing to protect the child or have the injuries examined.
“A witness statement revealed that Lorena Thompson suspected Robert Davidson had inflicted the injuries to Aleah Thompson, but continued to leave the victim in his sole care and custody,” officers involved in the case wrote.
Thompson received a five-year probationary sentence for her role.
Davidson will be sentenced in February 2017. He faces up to 50 years behind bars.