A San Leandro mother has been convicted of second-degree murder for the death of her 8-year-old disabled daughter two years ago in what authorities believe was an attempted murder-suicide. Prosecutors said that on March 11, 2011, Christel Johnson, 56, placed her daughter, Lylah Johnson, inside her minivan in the garage of their home in the 1300 block of Leonard Drive and attached a vacuum hose to the van’s exhaust pipe and placed the other end through one of the van’s rear windows. Lylah was severely disabled and suffered from brain damage, cerebral palsy and scoliosis, authorities said.
At about 1 p.m. that day, a care provider found Lylah unconscious in the minivan with the engine still running, prosecutors said. Johnson was also found in the van. Johnson and Lylah were transported to local hospitals but Lylah was pronounced dead by medical staff. Johnson survived. Prosecutors said Johnson and Lylah both showed symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. They said Lylah’s cause of death was 82 percent carbon monoxide poisoning. An Alameda County Superior Court jury convicted Johnson on Thursday.
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