Mistrial for man in death of girlfriend's niece, age 5

DETROIT (AP) - A judge has declared a mistrial after a jury deadlocked while deliberating the fate of a Detroit man accused of abducting, raping and killing his girlfriend's 5-year-old niece.

Twenty-two-year-old Darnell Cheatham is charged with first-degree murder, torture, arson and other crimes in the death of Mariah Smith. Her burned remains were found in a vacant house in 2011.

Defense lawyer Kareem Johnson says Cheatham maintains his innocence.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Ulysses Boykin declared the mistrial Tuesday.

County prosecutor's spokeswoman Maria Miller says in a statement that prosecutors will retry the case and says a pre-trial hearing is scheduled Friday.

Published: Thu, Jul 31, 2014


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