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Oklahoma City man accused in brutal murder of 2-year-old sentenced to prison

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma City man accused in the brutal murder of a 2-year-old child was sentenced to life in prison.

Justin Lawson, 24, was originally accused of sexually assaulting 2-year-old Sheleah while her mother, Keah, was in class.

Shaleah Cudjo, family photo

Shaleah Cudjo, family photo

Keah Cudjo told KFOR in Sept. 2015 that Justin Lawson first contacted her around 8 a.m. saying that something was wrong.

“I got a call that she peed on herself and was shaking. I tried to come home, but he said she was alright,” she said.

Then, she got another call from Lawson a few hours later that Sheleah was throwing up. That’s when Keah headed home to check on her.

“By the time I got here, my baby was on her back, foaming at her mouth,” Keah said. “The first thing I did was ran to my baby screaming for someone to take me to the hospital.”

She called 911 and waited.

“I’m trying to get my baby to breathe. I’m sitting there crying, holding her in my hands. She’s not breathing. They are trying to bring her back for an hour,” Keah said.

Sheleah was pronounced dead at the hospital.

According to the medical examiner, she sustained internal injuries and other injuries that indicated sexual assault. As a result, she lost a large amount of blood.

Keah told KFOR that she knew Lawson since they were kids.

Shaleah Cudjo, family photo

Shaleah Cudjo, family photo

Lawson was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape by instrumentation in connection to the 2-year-old’s death.

The rape by instrumentation charge was later amended to a child abuse charge.

In Dec. 2016, Lawson pleaded no contest to child abuse and first-degree murder.

He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Justin Lawson, Oklahoma County Jail

Justin Lawson, Oklahoma County Jail