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'Brutal and heartless' man found guilty in 2018 beating death of 17-month-old

Posted at 5:14 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 18:00:59-04

BALTIMORE  — "Brutal and heartless" is how Baltimore States Attorney Marilyn Mosby described Francois Browne's actions.

On Monday, the 35-year-old was found guilty on all counts in the 2018 beating death of 17-month-old Zaray Gray.

It was last July when paramedics arrived at the Forest Glen Townhomes in Northwest Baltimore for an unresponsive child, it didn't take long for them to spot evidence that Gray had been beaten.

Zaray's mother had left him in the care of her boyfriend, Browne, who told her he had taken the young boy to the playground where he had fallen while going down a slide.

Evidence however suggested otherwise.

Not only did Zaray have multiple bruises, consistent with finger marks, but an autopsy later revealed multiple lacerations and tears to the toddler's bowels likely caused by multiple blows to the abdomen.

RELATED: Deja vu in child abuse death of 18-month-old boy

It wasn't the first time Browne was charged with the death of a child.

The Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office confirmed Browne faced similar charges in 2013. He was accused of beating to death his 7-month-old son, Kendall Browne on New Years Eve, marking the cities first homicide that year.

According to Maryland Case Search, Browne was found not guilty of murder. An Alford Plea was entered on a count of first degree child abuse, which resulted in a 15 year jail sentence with all but 11 years suspended, and 5 years of supervised probation upon his release. Ultimately Browne didn't complete the four years he was slated to serve behind bars.

This time, Browne is all but certain to serve time behind bars.

In response to the verdict, Mosby released the following statement;

“The brutal and heartless bodily harm inflicted on this precious 17-month-old baby is unfathomable. Any person who outright abuses a harmless and indefensible baby lacks human decency and deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and removed from society,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “I’m thankful for the diligent efforts of prosecutors Michele Lambert, Noelle Winder and Sarah Simpkins for their unwavering commitment to justice. While our efforts can never restore the loss of this beautiful young soul, we certainly hope this guilty verdict brings deserved closure and offers Zaray’s family a start towards healing. Our heartfelt prayers and support continue to be with the family and the other victims harmed by Francois Browne.”

Browne is scheduled to be sentenced on November 7 in Baltimore City Circuit Court.