Joy Hodge has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for killing her 15-month-old daughter Sept. 6, 2011, in their Trumbull Homes apartment.
By Ed Runyan
Joy Hodge, 30, of Warren, has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for killing her 15-month-old daughter Sept. 6, 2011, in their Trumbull Homes apartment.
A’Nana Brantley was found dead in her crib of blunt-force trauma to her head and body at 1:30 p.m.
She had bruises on her head and abdomen and suffered a lacerated liver filled with “pulp,” which the Trumbull County coroner said resulted from a “forceful blow” similar to what a car-accident victim might suffer from hitting the dashboard.
Hodge, who was sentenced by Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, will be eligible for parole after 15 years. But if she is released, she will be on parole for the rest of her life.
Hodge did not make a statement to the court before sentencing.
Police said the investigation into the case was complicated by the various and conflicting stories told by witnesses.
One of the more damning pieces of evidence came from Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, Trumbull County coroner: the time of death.
Germaniuk said A’Nana died sometime between 1:30 and 5:30 a.m. Sept. 6 based on the stiffness of her body when she was discovered.
But Hodge told investigators during videotaped interviews that A’Nana was still alive at 8 a.m. when Hodge gave the girl a cup of juice.
Vanity Wallace, a neighbor of Hodge’s, testified that she, Hodge and other women went to an East Market Street tavern known at the time as Blue Magoo’s, for about two hours early Sept. 6 and were back home by about 2:30 a.m.
Another neighbor, Precious Stephenson, told jurors that Hodge asked her to lie to police the day A’Nana was found dead, so she told Warren Police Detective Mike Currington she had been watching Hodge’s house on Transylvania Street Southeast late Sept. 5 and early Sept. 6 while Hodge was at Blue Magoo’s.
There was no testimony indicating who was watching Hodge’s four children while she went out.
The jury in Hodge’s trial deliberated 75 minutes before finding her guilty of murder, felonious assault and child endangering in December.