The mother of a 2-year-old who was raped and killed doesn't think she will ever understand the man accused of the crime.
"I don't think you can ever get into a sick person's head like that. I've been trying to figure it out," said Angela Johns. "I'd like to look at him and ask him why, but I know I wouldn't get the answers I need."
Her daughter, Katelynn Stinnett, died earlier this week of injuries allegedly caused the week before by Brian Crabtree, 18. Police say Crabtree raped and dropped the toddler from a height of several feet inside a Lexington apartment they had just moved into with Katelynn's father, Daniel Stinnett.
In an interview on Friday, Johns, 24, described Stinnett, 25, as a good father trying his best and said Crabtree never gave her a reason not to trust him with her young son and daughter.
On Friday morning, Fayette County prosecutors charged Crabtree with murder. At an earlier arraignment, Crabtree entered a plea of not guilty to assault and rape charges. He is being held on a $250,000 bond in the Fayette County jail.
Six years ago, Johns met Stinnett at the Thornton's gas station on Winchester Road. They quickly became a couple and married, living in London before moving back closer to family after Stinnett lost his job there earlier this year.
They lived in the Turfland mobile home park in southern Bourbon County, also where Crabtree and his family lived. In June, Johns and Stinnett separated.
"Daniel just wasn't ready to settle down," Johns said. "We're best friends. We just couldn't be together as a couple."
After Johns moved out, Crabtree moved in and took on part of the three-bedroom mobile home's rent.
Soon after, a car wreck and other financial setbacks made it hard for Johns to care for the kids. Stinnett said he would take the children, and Johns took them every other weekend. Crabtree watched the kids when Stinnett worked.
Johns said she had no problem with Crabtree watching them. He was 18, "but it seemed like he was 25," Johns said.
She described Brian Crabtree as a nice but shy and somewhat distant guy.
"He was a real 'yes, ma'am,' 'no sir' well-mannered guy," she said.
He never seemed to be a threat, and Johns bristles at the idea that she or Stinnett are at fault for letting Crabtree watch their children.
"We didn't let this happen to our daughter. We trusted this guy for a long time. He did this to her," she said.
Johns said she last had her kids on Nov. 14, 15 and 16. They seemed fine to her, but she said her 3-year-old son said a few weeks ago he did not like Crabtree any more.
The boy is currently in foster care, she said.
A short time after her last visit with the kids, Stinnett, Crabtree, Katelynn and her brother moved into Bradford Apartments off Versailles Road in Lexington. Days later, on Nov. 25, Stinnett returned home from work at a fire and disaster recovery company and found his daughter in a deep sleep, Johns said. Since it was around her nap time, he didn't think much about it and took her to a friend's house.
When Katelynn wouldn't wake up, he called his mother, and they went together to the hospital.
"That's when they found out she was raped," Johns said.
At the hospital, Johns said her daughter looked as if she had been beaten all day. She was told that her daughter was "half brain-dead."
"It was horrible. That wasn't my daughter laying in the bed," she said. "It wasn't Katie."
She recalled her daughter as a smart, but goofy child who would sing the Spongebob Squarepants theme song and enjoyed chicken nuggets.
"Katelynn never had a frown on her face. She was an angel," Johns said.
Stinnett and Johns agreed to donate their daughter's organs. "The only thing wrong with her was her brain. Her heart deserved to live in another kid. Whoever got that heart, whew."