Hazelwood Man Convicted of the 2009 Killing of a 2-Year-Old Girl

The toddler was burned on the hand, suffered a lacerated liver, cracked skull and bruises across her body according to prosecuting attorney in the case.

Marquicio Johnson, 35, was found guilty on Tuesday in St. Louis County Circuit Court of second-degree murder while in the commission of another felony in connection with the death of his girlfriend's great-niece.

Hazelwood police found two-year-old Orionis Barron-Taylor on Dec. 16, 2009, in her pajamas on the kitchen floor of the apartment Johnson shared with her great-aunt in the 200 block of Chapel Ridge Drive .

She was the victim of child abuse with a burned hand, lacerated liver, cracked skull and bruises across her body discovered just three days after her second birthday.

According to prosecutors, Orionis died from brain swelling as a result of being beaten. In conncection with that, Johnson was convicted of two counts of child abuse. Johnson was also found guilty of one count of child endangerment, for waiting almost an hour to call 911 and seek emergency help.

How did Orionis end up in Johnson's care?

Johnson, who lived with the toddler and her great-aunt in Hazelwood, was watching Orionis while her great-aunt was working an overnight shift as a nurse.

When the crime was first committed, police said Orionis had been sent from Chicago to the household a few months earlier to live. This was due to abuse allegations police say were never validated stemming from a report the toddler drank a bottle of Benadryl while living in her mother's care in Chicago.

Johnson's Defense

Johnson told the after Orionis woke up around 7:30 a.m., they went to the bathroom to wash her hands. When she said she was hot, Johnson said they went to the kitchen to get her sippy cup. Johnson said he then heard a thump, and turned to see Orionis lying on the floor.

Johnson's sentencing is set for June 14.


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