• Jacksonville police: Teen accused of fatally beating 3-year-old girl he was babysitting

    By: Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A teen is accused of fatally beating a 3-year-old girl he was babysitting earlier this month, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.

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    Johnathan Godwin, 14, was arrested on charges of murder and aggravated child abuse Friday, JSO said in a news release.

    Action News Jax has chosen to name Godwin due to the severity of the charges he is facing.

    On Aug. 16, Godwin was babysitting for the murder victim and two other small children. While watching the victim for several hours, police said Godwin became annoyed with the victim for crying and repeatedly hit her in the chest, back, legs and head with his fist and a belt.

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    The victim was found unresponsive by Godwin's mother and was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased.

    Investigators found that Godwin had a history of abusing and burning another small child. On Wednesday, the medical examiner ruled the victim's death a homicide. Police interviewed Godwin, and they said he admitted to the incident and also admitted to burning another child.

    Action News Jax spoke to Godwin's former elementary school teacher, Kevin Dunbar. Dunbar remembers the student as respectful and not violent. 

    "I was shocked just because of his nature. He's not that kind of guy. He's not a violent guy. He was kind of a laid-back kid," Dunbar said. 

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