ROMULUS (WWJ) – Two Detroit men have been sentenced in the fatal shooting of a 2-year-old girl last spring.
Brothers Cleveland and Antoine Smelley were both convicted of second degree murder for the death of Makanzee Oldham during a fight over a drink spilled on a prom dress on May 25, 2016. They were initially charged with attempted murder, but the charges were amended with the child died.
According to prosecutors, Antoine Smelley was at a home in the 16400 block of Fairmount, near Kelly Road just south of 8 Mile Road, when he poured juice over the head of a young woman who was getting ready to go to prom.
After spilling the drink, which witnesses identified as Kool-Aid, officials say Antoine Smelley pulled out a handgun and threatened the young woman and her friends.
Shortly thereafter, Cleveland Smelley and a third man, Deonta Bennett, drove over to the house and a fight broke out. During the fight, investigators say Bennett gave a handgun to Cleveland Smelley, who shot at seven people in a car — striking Oldham in the head.
At sentencing Thursday, in 34th District Court in Romulus, Cleveland Smelley apologized, saying he didn’t know a child was in the car when he opened fire.
He received a sentence of at least 35 years in prison, while his brother was sentenced to a minimum of ten years.
Bennett, meantime, is serving an eight to 30 year prison sentence after pleading guilty to second degree murder in January.
The shooting occurred the same day Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced charges in several other shootings involving children.