HAYWARD -- A San Leandro mother has been convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her disabled 8-year-old child in what prosecutors say was a murder-suicide attempt at their home in 2011.

Christel Johnson, 56, was found guilty of the crime by an Alameda County Superior Court jury on Thursday, according to Eamon O'Connor, spokesman for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

Johnson's daughter, Lylah, was severely disabled and had brain damage, cerebral palsy and scoliosis, authorities said.

Prosecutors said that on March 11, 2011, Johnson placed Lylah inside her minivan, which was parked in the garage of their home in the 1300 block of Leonard Drive, attached a hose to the van's tailpipe, and placed the other end through one of the van's rear windows.

About 1 p.m. that day, a care provider for Lylah found the mother and daughter in the minivan with the engine still running.

The girl was taken to Children's Hospital Oakland, where she was pronounced dead. Johnson, who was found conscious, was taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

Johnson faces 15 years to life in prison when she is sentenced. A sentencing date was not announced.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.



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