Tyree La’Mont Williams pleaded guilty to first-degree murder of his girlfriend’s child and was sentenced to 40 years in prison by a Sebastian County judge on Friday, February 15, 2019.

On January 30, 2018, prosecutors charged Williams, then 25,  in the death of 19-month-old-Kyla Woodard, the daughter of his live-in girlfriend Sierra Johnson.

Williams, from Fort Smith, and his girlfriend brought the child to a local emergency room where he was later arrested, according to a court report.

The child died the following day, January 31, a state medical examiner ruled.

The court report reads in part from the medical examiner that Kyla was hit with such force, “the internal structures of her abdomen were compressed against the spine causing tearing of fatty soft tissue and liver with intra-abdominal bleeding.”

The medical examiner was set to testify that Kyla “was a classic example of battered child syndrome/chronic child abuse,” according to the court document.

Williams entered a guilty plea and avoided going to trial on the case.

According to police, Williams said that he was the only person with Kyla on the day she was injured, and admitted he back-handed her twice in the stomach.

The defendant has three prior felony convictions. 

As of last spring, the child’s mother, Sierra Johnson, is serving a decade in jail on child abuse and drug charges.