New trial starts in slaying of Detroit girl, 5

AP News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2014 2:55 PM
New trial starts in slaying of Detroit girl, 5

DETROIT (AP) — A new trial has started for a 23-year-old Detroit man charged in the abduction, rape and slaying of his girlfriend's 5-year-old niece.

Jurors were being selected Monday afternoon in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Darnell Cheatham is charged with first-degree murder, torture, arson and other crimes in the July 2011 death of Mariah Smith.

Authorities have said Mariah was taken from her east side home and strangled. Her body was set afire on a mattress in a vacant house about a mile from her home.

A judge declared a mistrial in late July 2014 after a jury deadlocked during deliberations. Defense lawyer Kareem Johnson has said Cheatham maintains his innocence.