Baby Faith: Jury selection begins in case against mother, Christine Johnson

Christine Johnson holding baby Faith Mason

Jury selection is underway in the case against accused abusive mother Christine Johnson, who allegedly yanked her one-month old daughter Faith Mason causing the infant severe injuries in what was a highly publicized incident in 2013.

According to initial reports from the Port Arthur Police Department, Baby Faith Mason was admitted to St. Mary's Hospital on Aug. 18, 2013 with life-threatening injuries. Faith had reportedly suffered two broken arms, two broken legs, a broken neck, a dislocated shoulder and a black eye before arriving at the hospital. Child Protective Services spokesperson Shari Pulliam said doctors examining the infant discovered blunt force trauma to the head that caused a “severe brain bleed,” and Faith was flown to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston where her injuries were later confirmed.

“After a thorough examination, it was determined she had 19 fractures, new and old,” Pulliam told The Examiner in August 2013. “This child had been severely physically abused before the incident when she went to the hospital. We immediately took custody.”

Baby Faith was in a full body cast after the incident, but was recovering well since being placed with a foster family, Pulliam said in December 2013.

Christine Johnson, Faith's mother, and Darrell Mason, the child's father, were both arrested Sept. 27, 2013. According to the probable cause affidavit for Johnson's arrest, “Christine Johnson … knowingly and intentionally jerked her premature one-month-old child, Faith Mason, causing her neck to break and also causing Faith to suffer serious brain injury. … She reached into the baby’s bed and angrily jerked her out of bed by the arms.”

Judge John Stevens is presiding over the case against Johnson in criminal district court. Voir dire began Aug. 24. Johnson faces two counts of injury to a child, one for the alleged physical abuse and the other for neglecting to take the injured infant to the hospital immediately. If the jury finds Johnson committed the crime "knowingly and intentionally," she faces first-degree felony punishment of 5 to 99 years and a fine up to $10,000 for each count. The sentences would run concurrently.