Detroit Man Charged In Rape, Murder Of 5-Year-Old Girl
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Prosecutors have filed charges against a Detroit man they say abducted, raped and killed, then burned the body of a 5-year-old girl.
The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 22-year-old Darnell H. Cheatham was arraigned Monday on charges of first-degree murder, torture, child abuse, arson and mutilation of a body.
Prosecutor Kym Worthy says Cheatham took Mariah Smith from her Detroit home July 24.
Konesha Smith told WWJ that she last saw Mariha, her 5-year-old daughter, when she put her and her three younger siblings down to sleep on the floor on the first floor of their home on Burlingame in front of a fan that was in a window. She says when she woke up, the girl was missing.
Authorities say the girl was strangled and her skull crushed before her body was set on fire on a mattress at a vacant house about a mile from her home.
It wasn’t immediately known if Cheatham has a lawyer.
Prosecutors say Cheatham was the boyfriend of Mariah’s aunt.
First-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.
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