After hearing seven days of testimony, a Loudoun jury today found a 24-year-old Leesburg man guilty of causing the death of his infant daughter in October 2014.
Diamante Travon Ellis was convicted on charges of second-degree murder, child abuse and neglect, and felony murder.
Before the jury considered its sentencing recommendation, prosecutors dismissed the second-degree murder change, which carries the same punishment range as felony murder.
The maximum sentence on the homicide charge was 40 years in prison. The jury recommended he serve eight years for the homicide conviction and five years on the abuse charge. Circuit Court Judge Jeanette Irby is scheduled to hand down final sentencing May 31.
The investigation began the night of Oct. 2, 2014, when Ellis and his grandfather brought the unconscious infant to the emergency room at the Inova Loudoun Medical Campus in Leesburg. The child then was flown to Children’s National Medical Hospital in Washington. After three days on life support, Devyn died Oct. 5.
When questioned by Leesburg Police detectives, Ellis gave differing stories about what caused her injuries, finally saying the he dropped her onto a bathroom floor. A year after her death, Ellis was charged in the case. He has been jailed since October 2015.
In the central part of the circumstantial evidence case, jurors were asked to wade through days of doctors’ testimony concerning evidence of severe head trauma, broken ribs and leg fractures. Prosecutors said their findings confirmed that the devastating and massive injuries could not have resulted from a fall onto a tile floor, but only from abusive behavior.
Defense attorneys argued it was unclear when the injuries occurred and that some could have been sustained while the 9-month-old was is the care of her other or other family members before the baby was dropped.