Arlington man sentenced to life for killing girlfriend’s 10-month-old daughter

Posted Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The short life of Kaylee Miller quickly filled with tragedy.

Kaylee died on Dec. 30, 2011, when she was 10-months-old. Austin Crawford, who was living with Kaylee’s mother at the time of the infant’s death, was convicted of murder on Wednesday and sentenced to life in prison.

Crawford must serve 30 years before he becomes eligible for parole.

Prosecutors said the evidence showed that Crawford violently shook the infant because she would not stop crying, and then struck her head at least four times. Crawford, 27, of Arlington, admitted shaking the infant when questioned by police, prosecutors said.

“I hope to God she lost consciousness early, because that assault was brutal and sustained and a capital murder,” Kim D’Avignon, Tarrant County assistant district attorney, told the jury during her closing statement.

Crawford, “is a man who is willing to take the life of a 10-month-old because she was crying,” D’Avignon said.

Kaylee’s mother, Krystal Cushman, testified on Tuesday that Kaylee’s biological father, Reginald Miller, 47, of Alvarado, was shot and killed by Fort Worth police while fleeing an apparent bank robbery when Kaylee was 6-months-old.

Crawford took responsibility for his actions and told police that he shook the baby, said Fred Cummings, Crawford’s attorney during a recess in the trial. But it was never his intention to hurt Kaylee, Cummings said.

“Austin was trying to be cooperative and in his statement related things to police that could have caused the trauma,” Cummings said. Crawford “was taking responsibility for the baby’s death because he was the caretaker for the child when the death occurred.”

But testimony from Marc A. Krouse, Tarrant County deputy chief medical examiner, indicated that the type of force that caused Kaylee’s injuries required more force than the usual baby shaking or bouncing. The type of injuries Kaylee suffered typically occur during car wrecks, falls from a height of 30-feet or more or being struck in the head with a heavy television, prosecutors said.

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752 Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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