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Austin, MN (KROC-AM News) - A former Austin woman has pleaded guilty to a first-degree assault charge in a child abuse case that originally had her facing attempted murder charges.

The criminal case against 32-year-old Makenzie Johnson involves two incidents in July 2019 involving her 16-month-old son. The complaint Austin police officers responded to her home the evening of July 10 after receiving a report of a young child not breathing. An officer gave the 16-month-old boy oxygen and he was eventually brought to St. Mary's hospital for treatment and was discharged the following day.

Court records indicate that, on July 13, 2019, the toddler was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital for seizures and Johnson told the nurse that she had placed her hand over her son's mouth and nose until he stopped breathing as a way to stop him from crying. During the later interview with investigators, Johnson also admitted covering the child's mouth and nose with her hand during the July 10 incident. The criminal complaint says Johnson told investigators that she told herself to "stop doing it" because she did not want to hurt the child, but she did it anyway.

Johnson, who now lives in Reads Landing, was charged with two counts of second-degree attempted murder and two counts of first-degree assault. She has entered a Norgaard plea to one of the assault charges, which means she admits guilt but does not remember her actions. She is scheduled to be sentenced on May 21 for the first-degree assault conviction with the plea agreement calling for a stayed prison sentence and probation.

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