Man charged in rape-killing of Detroit girl, 5

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

DETROIT (AP) - Prosecutors have filed charges against a Detroit man they say abducted, raped and killed his girlfriend's 5-year-old daughter, then set her body on fire.

The Wayne County prosecutor's office says 22-year-old Darnell H. Cheatham was being 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. Authorities say the girl was strangled and her skull crushed before her body was set afire on a mattress at a vacant house about a mile from her home.

It wasn't immediately known if Cheatham has a lawyer.

First-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.


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