Joliet man sentenced to 87 years for murdering toddler

July 14

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a Joliet man was sentenced to 87 years in prison on Monday for the beating death of his girlfriend’s 17-month-old son.

A jury in February found Robert Johnson, 36, guilty of first-degree murder for beating Trayvon Joseph multiple times about the body while the boy’s mother was out of her house running errands on March 18, 2002. Circuit Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes sentenced Johnson.

The toddler’s mother called 911 the morning after the beating when she discovered that her child was unresponsive and not breathing. Trayvon was pronounced dead later that day at Silver Cross Hospital.

An autopsy revealed that his bowel had been perforated and that his stomach artery had been torn during the beating. Trayvon also suffered a skull fracture and a collar bone fracture, and he had bruises over much of his body, including 14 circular bruises on his stomach that were consistent with closed-fist punches.

“Robert Johnson is a brutal monster who took the life of an innocent baby,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “He savagely attacked a defenseless child and now he will spend the rest of his life in prison.”

Under state law, Johnson must serve 100 percent of his sentence.

A nurse and a deputy coroner testified during the trial that they heard Johnson apologize to the dead boy at the hospital, saying: “I’m sorry I did it.” Prosecutors also presented as evidence a letter Johnson sent to his girlfriend stating that he didn’t hit Trayvon that hard.

Glasgow praised Joliet Detective Sgt. Bruce Larson and Detective Rich Klepfer for their thorough investigation, as well as his prosecutors, Assistant State’s Attorneys Tina Filipiak, Dede Osterberger and Jessica Colon-Sayre, for their skillful trial work.

“Their dedication to this investigation and prosecution has taken a dangerous man off of our streets for good,” he said.