DETROIT (WWJ) – A 16-year-old boy, charged as an adult, has been sentenced to 25 to 60 years in prison for the horrific murder of a pregnant Melvindale woman.
Jeremy Lee of Detroit was initially charged with first-degree murder, assault of a pregnant individual, intentionally causing death of a fetus, and mutilation of a dead body. However, in a deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to second degree murder and the other charges were dismissed.
Police said Lee and his co-defendant, 23-year-old Jacob Barnes of Lincoln Park, brutally attacked 29-year-old of Amanda Benton early in the morning of Monday, Sept. 26, 2106, at Woodmere and Cabot in Detroit — beating her in the head, neck and abdomen before loading her body into the trunk of her car.
The two then allegedly drove to an abandoned home in the 8000 block of Vanderbilt in Southwest Detroit where they set Benton’s body on fire. She was missing for two days before her remained were discovered.
Family members say Benton was fighting a drug addiction and was killed for her car.
At Monday’s sentencing, her mother, Florine Harper, was among those to address the court.
“Amanda was a beautiful woman with the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known,” Harper told the court. “She would help everyone she could. Trust me, she has had her problems as else in this courtroom, but she and her baby did not deserve what was done to them.”
“…I will never understand how anyone could do this to anyone. This is pure evil.”
Lee declined to make a statement at sentencing.
Barnes, who did not plead, is scheduled to go face trial in May.