The initial allegations in the case were brutal:
Robert Davidson, a 24-year-old father in Rockville, had sexually abused his 10-week-old daughter and then killed her.
In court Monday — at Davidson’s plea hearing — it became even more clear how much the little girl had suffered in her short life.
The autopsy of Aleah Thompson showed a broken collarbone and 34 rib fractures in “various states of healing,” Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Herdman said in court. The injuries occurred during at least three “severely traumatic events” and appeared to be the result of Aleah’s chest being constricted, Herdman said.
Davidson specifically pleaded guilty to sex abuse of a minor and first-degree child abuse resulting in death. As part of his entering the plea, prosecutors agreed to drop an additional charge of second-degree murder. Davidson didn’t speak Monday, but could do so when he is sentenced in February. He faces up to 50 years in prison.
Herdman laid out many of the details advanced last year when Davidson was arrested:
On June 23, 2015, she said, Davidson called police and medics to an apartment where he lived with Aleah and Aleah’s mother, Lorena Thompson. She was at work at the time. The police and medics arrived to find Davidson trying to perform CPR on the child.
Aleah died three days later at a hospital.
Davidson initially told detectives he’d been in the living room playing video games when he heard labored breathing coming from a bedroom. He went to check on Aleah, he had said, and found her limp and unresponsive. Davidson also told police that he had dropped his daughter several times and that she had rolled off a couch. He later admitted to police that he had shaken Aleah, according to Herdman.
An autopsy found the child died of “multiple blunt force injuries.” Doctors found injuries to her head, eyes and spine, Herdman said. A forensic anthropologist examined Aleah’s bones, and determined she had suffered severe trauma during the first two weeks of her life, several weeks after that, and just before her death, Herdman said.
The exact nature of the sexual abuse allegations remains disputed. In court Monday, Davidson’s attorney, Ronald Gottlieb, said that his client had told detectives he was trying to remove mucus and other substances.
“He never admitted to doing it for a sexual gratification, but the actual act itself he has admitted to,” Gottlieb said.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to seek no more than 50 years in prison for Davidson.
Aleah’s mother also was charged in the case.
On July 22, 2016, she pleaded guilty to neglect of a minor. Police and prosecutors alleged she had seen bruising on her girl and suspected Davidson had inflicted the injuries, but she took no action. She was sentenced to five years of probation, according to court records.