BAY CITY (WWJ/AP) – A federal judge has agreed to sever some of the charges against a man accused of killing a 4-year-old boy on an Indian reservation near Mount Pleasant.

Wednesday’s decision means Anthony Bennett would face two trials if prosecutors want to pursue all seven charges. Some charges accuse him of witness tampering unrelated to the death of Carnel Chamberlain.

Carnel was last seen alive on June 21 when his mother, Jaimee Chamberlain, went to work and left him in Bennett’s care on the Saginaw Chippewa Indian reservation, about 70 miles north of Lansing.

Carnell Chamberlain (Photo Courtesy: Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe)

Carnell Chamberlain (Photo Courtesy: Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe)

A week-long search on the reservation ensued until the remains were found buried outside the home. Authorities say Carnel’s body was so badly burned that authorities had trouble identifying it as human remains.

In a June interview with WWJ Newsradio 950, Jaimee Chamberlain said she initially became suspicious when Bennett, who lived with them, didn’t join her as she frantically searched for the child. She said that it seemed Bennett might be “hiding something.”

Bennett was subsequently charged with an earlier assault on the boy, a key step that kept him in custody while authorities developed the murder case against him.

A Nov. 7 grand jury indictment charged Bennett with first-degree murder, assaulting a child, assault with a dangerous weapon, animal cruelty and witness tampering. His trial is set for Jan. 14 in Bay City federal court.

The case is being handled in federal court since the crime occurred on an Indian reservation.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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