By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Covington suspect arraigned on murder charge in death of 5-month-old
Lithonia woman sentenced to prison after high-speed chase in 2020 leads to passenger’s death
Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. Judicial Center
The Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. Judicial Center - photo by Courtesy of Newton County

COVINGTON, Ga. — A Covington woman was formally arraigned on murder charges in Superior Court Wednesday in the September death of her baby.

Lakristy Jdeon White, 22, was formally arraigned on a series of charges related to the murder of her 5-month-old daughter in September 2020.

White has been held in the Newton County Jail since Sept. 21 on charges of Felony Murder and Cruelty to Children following the death of Aryan White Sept. 13.

The case stems from White’s arrest on charges she had punched Aryan in the stomach and pushed the 5-month-old, causing her to hit her head on the floor and die, a warrant stated. 

She died after suffering a subdural hemorrhage and head trauma when she hit the floor, it stated.

Charges include Malice Murder and Felony Murder, two counts of felony Aggravated Battery, and three counts of felony Cruelty to Children in the First Degree.

However, Judge Ken Wynne also delayed a hearing on her request for setting a bond so she could be released from the Newton County Jail.

In October, Judge Layla Zon denied White’s request for setting bond after saying she believed White posed a risk for committing more felonies if released, and for possibly intimidating witnesses.

Also Wednesday, Wynne sentenced Melissa Arnetta Johnson of Lithonia to 12 years in confinement after she pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and other charges.

The charges were related to the death of a passenger in an F-150 truck Johnson was driving on Salem Road after she led deputies on a chase and wrecked in February 2020.

Testimony showed Johnson, 32, shoplifted items from Walmart on Salem Road, put them in the bad of the truck and drove onto Salem Road with Otis James as a passenger.  

The truck was traveling “recklessly” before it struck a tree and James was killed, said Chief Assistant District Attorney Amber Dally.

In emotional testimony, James’ widow, Gloria, said she had not known her husband had been involved in criminal acts involving Johnson before his February 2020 death.

Gloria James told Wynne that she had been “tearing up inside” since her husband’s death.

“He had a different life over there and a different life over here,” she said.

James then told Johnson she did not hate her because of the incident.

“I just want you to get help,” she said.

Johnson, who appeared by Zoom from the Newton County Jail, told Wynne she was sorry about the harm it caused the victim’s family and said she did not know James had a family before his death. 

She said she believed James was homeless and they had shoplifted items to buy illegal drugs.

Johnson pleaded guilty to Homicide by Vehicle in the First Degree, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer, Theft by Shoplifting and other charges.

Wynne sentenced her to 25 years on probation with the first 12 years in confinement. 

Lakristy Jdeon White
Lakristy Jdeon White - photo by Courtesy of the Newton County Sheriff's Office