As Quar’ran Allen stood in a yellow jumpsuit inside the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse, he told the judge that he recognized the seriousness of the conduct that led him to face sentencing on Tuesday.
But Allen said he would never hurt his daughter — or any child.
Allen testified at a bench trial earlier this year that he was holding his 2-month-old daughter, Elsie Cottman, when he tumbled down the stairs and landed on top of her in the Loch Raven neighborhood. She was pronounced dead at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center on May 28, 2019. Prosecutors, though, successfully argued that he beat her to death.
“I just want to say that I’m sorry to the court and to my family,” Allen said. “I love all my kids.”
Baltimore Circuit Judge John Addison Howard sentenced Allen, 25, of Penn-Fallsway, on charges of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death, to serve 40 years in prison — plus five years’ probation.
Howard said he had no doubt that Allen loves his family — and that they love him. But the judge described the death of an infant at the hands of her father as frightening, stating that it’s not acceptable in society.
Earlier in the hearing, Brandon Taylor, Allen’s attorney, said his client maintains that he did not beat the child to death but respected the opinion of the court.
Taylor said his client was seeking leniency.
“This was a freak accident that Mr. Allen’s going to have to live with forever — regardless of what happens today,” said Taylor, who unsuccessfully argued for a new trial before sentencing.
Allen’s mother, Malia Allen, requested that the court show mercy. Her son, she said, has an entire family that loves and supports him.
Shawn Cherry, Allen’s cousin, asked the judge to “give this man a chance to be back with his kids.”
“Quar’ran has always been a good person and a good father,” Cherry said. “He made a mistake.”
But Assistant State’s Attorney Stacie Reed pushed for a sentence of 100 years in prison, stating that penalty was necessary to protect the public and Allen’s other children, as well as to deliver justice.
Allen, she said, beat his daughter and left her to suffer and die. He initially blamed one of his sons during an interrogation with Baltimore Police.
Reed said the medical examiner noted nine separate impact points to the baby’s skull, in addition to multiple injuries to her torso. “He didn’t just stick to her head,” Reed said. “He beat her all over the place.”
“It’s mortifying — the damage that he did to this little child,” Reed said.
“This defendant is a violent person,” she added, noting that he’s since been charged with assaulting a fellow prisoner.
The baby’s mother did not attend the hearing or submit a victim impact statement.
As a sheriff’s deputy escorted him out of the courtroom, Allen looked back at his loved ones and said, “Love you all.” They replied, “Love you.”