published Monday, September 17th, 2012

Chattanooga: Man pleads guilty to killing 5-year-old son

A 35-year-old Chattanooga man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2003 beating and strangulation death of his 5-year-old son.

Dedric Lamont Atkins has been housed in a state mental health facility since shortly after killing his son Dedrick Kayshon Johnson on Sept. 28, 2003. He was declared competent to stand trial last year.

Atkins received a 15-year prison sentence under the plea agreement.

His attorney, Hilary Hodgkins, said that during the hearing this morning before Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole, her client said he was “telepathic and hears voices.”

Atkins suffers from schizophrenia.

Autopsy reports showed that Johnson was beaten and strangled in Atkins’ Patten Towers apartment.

For more details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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