Forrest City Couple Face Murder Charges in Child's Death

Johnson (l), Dawson
Johnson (l), Dawson

JANUARY 15, 2007 - Posted at 3:49 p.m. CST

FORREST CITY, AR - A woman and her boyfriend face capital murder charges today after the death of her four-year-old son, who police say was reportedly beaten.

Roberta L. Johnson, 24, and 31-year-old Cornelius Dawson were arrested after the death of Lamont Hurd.  Police found what they described as "healing cuts" across the toddler's head, neck, chest, arms, back, buttocks and legs after he was rushed to the Forrest City Medical Center on Friday.

Police say that the boy, who was having difficulties breathing, died at the hospital shortly after noon on Friday.  The boy's body has been sent to the state Crime Lab for an autopsy.

Police say they later found an unidentified 3-year-old at the home who suffered some of the same injuries as Lamont.  That boy, and a 1-year-old, were taken from Johnson and released to state child welfare officials.

Johnson and Dawson are being held at the St. Francis County Jail on a $500,000 bond each.  They are scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday afternoon.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)