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Gionni Sellers charged in death of girlfriend's 3-year-old son, Xavier Johnson, in Orange County

-- Story updated at 4:25 p.m. on Dec. 29, 2022.

WALLKILL, N.Y. -- There's new information in a six-month-long investigation surrounding the brutal homicide of a 3-year-old in Orange County.

With his head hung low, 23-year-old Gionni Sellers, of Middletown, listened to the charges being brought against him on Tuesday. He's accused of killing 3-year-old Xavier Johnson, his girlfriend's son.

"That day at the hospital, it was very clear to everyone involved that Xavier Johnson died an extremely terrible death and a savage death," Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said.

Hoovler is talking about the morning of June 2, 2022, when Xavier was found unresponsive and not breathing in his race car bed in his mom's living room, with what officials describe as catastrophic injuries across his 30-pound body, especially his head, neck and torso. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Sellers was watching Xavier at the time, as he had been for days before that.

He's charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. If convicted, he could face 25 years to life behind bars.

It's taken six months for local and state police with the help of the FBI to investigate.

"You have to examine the period of time leading up to when the child was found, and that investigation takes time. There's an extreme amount of forensic evidence in this case, as well as interviews," Hoovler said.

Sellers has no prior convictions but has been accused of domestic violence in the past.

The investigation found that in the days leading up to Xavier's death, Sellers was searching online "why do younger men want to hurt babies," "things you shouldn't do to a toddler" and "how to deal with a 3-year-old."

On the day before Xavier's death, he searched "baby breathing heavy after being shook" and "what to do if you shake baby too much."

CBS2's Kristie Keleshian tried talking to the family as they walked out of the courthouse, but they made no comment.

Investigators couldn't specify the exact manner of the boy's death.

Sellers is due back in court Wednesday, Jan. 4, at noon.

Editor's noteWe want to correct a previous report that the plaintiff's attorney said Ms. Wilson and Sellers had gotten back together since the death of Xavier Johnson. This was misinterpreted and Wilson has since confirmed with CBS2 that they have not gotten back together.

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