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New Trial Set For Detroit Man In Rape, Murder Of 5-Year-Old Girl

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DETROIT (AP/WWJ) — A new trial date has been set for a man charged in connection with the abduction, rape and slaying of his girlfriend’s 5-year-old niece.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says Friday that 22-year-old Darnell Cheatham’s trial is to begin Nov. 17 in Wayne County Circuit Court.

A bond hearing is scheduled Aug. 19.

Cheatham is charged with first-degree murder, torture, arson and other crimes in the death of Mariah Smith. Her burned remains were found in a vacant house in 2011.

A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday after a jury deadlocked during deliberations. Defense lawyer Kareem Johnson has said Cheatham maintains his innocence.

Prosecutors said Cheatham took Mariah from her Detroit home July 24. 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, in 2011.

Defense lawyer Kareem Johnson says Cheatham maintains his innocence.

Wayne County prosecutor’s spokeswoman Maria Miller told the Detroit Free Press that prosecutors will retry the case.

 

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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