A HEROIN addict has admitted “backhanding” his girlfriend’s daughter so hard that the three-year-old “was spun around and fell down the steps face-first”, killing her.
Vile Travis Graham, 23, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter for causing the death of Charlette Dawkins – whom he failed to take to hospital for several hours after hitting her.
Although the fatally injured tot was unresponsive at the bottom of the stairs, and had wet herself, Graham texted her mum, his then partner Kaitlin Roysdon, joking “lol [Charlette] just threw a hissy fit and dropped dead weight while walking up the stairs.
“I caught her but she banged her head.”
An hour later, he texted again, saying that the girl’s “head is pretty bad with bruises”.
It wasn’t until three hours later that he wrote: “Going to emergency room.”
After taking her to hospital in Stratford, New Jersey, little Charlette was airlifted to Cooper University Hospital in Camden.
The tot had suffered a brain injury, had multiple healing rib fractures and bruises on her forehead, chest, abdomen and legs, reports NJ.com.
Her grief-stricken grandma, Renay Rodriguez, told the website: “She liked tiaras, but she liked to dress up like Batman.”
Charlette suffered cardiac arrest several times and was later diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury, according to court records.
Her death was ruled a homicide in 2018, and a doctor’s report said that she had suffered “physical abuse to a medical degree of certainty”.
Authorities said that Graham was arrested in a string of armed robberies last year and made statements contradicting earlier remarks about the March 2017 death of Charlette.
Prosecutors said he initially said he heard the child fall down a flight of stairs, but later admitted he struck her in the forehead, knocking her down the steps.
Graham had been a suspect in her death, but cops didn’t charge him until last summer, when they arrested him for several armed robberies.
He told investigators he had “backhanded” Charlette after she pinched him during an argument about taking a nap.
Graham then struck her with such force that she was “spun around and fell down the steps face first”.
In a plea deal, he admitted causing the death of the toddler, and also taking part in a string of armed robberies to steal money for his heroin addiction.
The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office said it would recommend him being locked up for 30 years.
In a poignant obituary for the youngster, Charlette was described as being “suddenly carried to heaven to live among the angels and superheroes of Heaven on March 14, 2017.
“Charlette was a princess in her own world. She was so smart and had an out of this world personality.
“She would light up the room with her smile and cared so much about other people. She is a soul that no one will ever forget.”
Media reports say that Graham’s admission of guilt will help bring some closure for her grieving family, who have written about their loss on social media, using the hashtag #justiceforcharlette, as they have waited for more than two years for a prosecution.
Her aunty, Mary Martin, said that she and the family had been seeking justice for her “sweet niece [who] was brutally taken away”.
Superior Court Judge Gwendolyn Blue will be asked to sentence Graham to 20 years for the manslaughter charge, and 10 years on each count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.