Lillian Grace Lloyd was 5 weeks old when her life ended violently on the pavement outside the house that should have been her home for many years to come.
Dalton Davis, a 22-year-old Indiana man, lived with Lloyd and her unnamed mother in a rural area of Portland, Ind., about 50 miles south of Fort Wayne.
One night, following an argument with his girlfriend, Davis took the infant into his arms and walked outside, onto the sidewalk. There, in the desolate flatness of the Midwest, far from the eyes of anyone — his girlfriend included — he did the unthinkable.
Davis raised the child and slammed her down onto the concrete.
Then he did it again.
And maybe again — he can’t remember.
After being arrested, he evaded questions from police for a while before finally admitting to having committed infanticide.
On Wednesday, he was sentenced to 65 years — the maximum sentence, aside from life, for murdering the child. Of that, Jay County Prosecutor Wes Schemenaur told the Star Press that he expects Davis to serve about 85 percent, or 55 years, of the sentence.
On Sept. 29, 2015, police were called to the rural home that Dalton Davis shared with his girlfriend and her daughter after someone called 911 to report the child wasn’t breathing, WPTA reported.
Lillian, not breathing, was taken to the Bluffton Regional Medical Center. Later that day, she was pronounced dead.
Police arrested Dalton and charged him with murder two days later, according to the Jay County Prosecutor’s Office.
Preliminary reports suggested the child died from blunt-force trauma, and the autopsy found “a large amount of bruising” across her chest, back and head accompanied by a skull fracture, the Indianapolis Star reported.
The girl’s mother told police she had fallen asleep in the living room with Lillian slumbering peacefully next to her in a small glider, a type of bassinet that allows the child to rock back and forth.
When she woke up, though, the child was missing. She walked to the living room, where she found her infant daughter in a cradle. Davis was lying on the bed next to it.
The baby was unresponsive.
When asked about this, Davis first told police he had moved her about a half-hour earlier and that she was “fine and did not appear ill,” the Indianapolis Star reported.
The next day, police met with him again, this time informing Davis of the child’s injuries. At that point, he changed his story, saying he had taken the baby outside with him on a cigarette break and that he had dropped her on her head.
Police argued that this was “not consistent” with her injuries, at which point Davis admitted to slamming the baby onto the concrete. He said he was angry at his girlfriend because she had gotten drunk.
He thought the baby was dead when he placed her body in the cradle.
In a report filed by Capt. Patrick Wells of the Jay County Sheriff’s Office and obtained by the Indianapolis Star, Davis said he “took [the child] by the legs and forcefully struck her body on the concrete two or three times, with her back and head striking the ground.”
On July 14, Davis pleaded guilty in an agreement that helped him avoid a life sentence, the Commercial Review reported.
Davis chose not to attend his sentencing Thursday in person, but instead was linked into the courtroom via video conference. According to the Star Press, “He also uttered no words of remorse, or anything approaching an apology to his victim’s mother, or the others in the courtroom who had loved young Lillian Grace Lloyd.”
“I’ve never seen anything as senseless or barbaric as this,” said Jay Circuit Court Judge Brian Hutchison.
Before the sentencing was over, Hutchinson looked at the video monitor where Davis’s visage was broadcast into the court.
“Is there anything you wish to say?” the judge asked.
Davis answered simply, before the monitors were shut off and he began his sentence.