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Father charged in death of child at day care

Published October 11, 2004

DETROIT (AP) — The father of a 3-year-old who was beaten
to death during an attack on an in-home day care was arraigned
Sunday on six felony charges in his daughter’s death and the
shootings of two day care workers.

Bernard Gerald Kelly, 37, of Detroit was taken into custody at a
home Saturday by members of the Detroit Police Department’s
violent crimes task force and members of the U.S. Marshals Service,
Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings said.

Kelly was arraigned Sunday in 36th District Court on charges of
first-degree murder, felony murder and child abuse in the Sept. 28
death of Stefanie Belue. He also was charged with felony firearms
possession and two counts of assault with intent to commit murder
in the shootings of the day care owner and her niece.

Kelly was ordered held without bond in the Wayne County Jail
with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Oct. 21, said Maria
Miller, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s
Office.

“It’s a very hard time for the family of Stefanie
Belue, but hopefully this brings them some closure,”
Bully-Cummings said at a news conference Sunday.

At the time of his arrest, Kelly was wearing a hat and dark
glasses in an attempt to disguise himself and was carrying bags of
clothes.

“Had we not taken him into custody at that point, he
probably would have left the state,” Bully-Cummings said.

Police believe that Kelly was being helped by at least one
relative. Felony charges could be filed against those family
members once police complete their investigation, Wayne County
Prosecutor Kym Worthy said.

An arrest warrant for Kelly was signed Friday after one of the
women shot during the attack that killed Stefanie named him as the
assailant, Bully-Cummings said.

Police initially reported that Stefanie had been shot to death,
but later said she was beaten.

Annette Rice, 41, the day care’s operator, and Sherita
Griggs, Rice’s 22-year-old niece, were shot and critically
wounded at the in-home day care. Both women remained hospitalized
Sunday, but Griggs regained consciousness Friday and identified
Kelly. Rice remained unconscious and in critical condition.
Griggs’ 4-month-old son, Amari, suffered a head injury when
she dropped him during the attack.

He was hospitalized for several days and has been released.

Two other children in the house were unharmed.

Bully-Cummings wouldn’t comment Sunday on a possible
motive for the attack. But Lt. Roy McCallister, head of the
homicide division, told The Detroit News for a Sunday story that
investigators believe Kelly killed his daughter in an attempt to
avoid paying child support.

Stefanie’s mother, Charleen Belue, and Kelly were due to
meet in Wayne County Circuit Court the day of the shooting to
discuss whether Kelly would have to begin paying child support.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Kelly would go to prison
for life with no chance for parole.


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