Anthony Michael Bennett, 20, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Bay City Wednesday for first-degree murder in the killing of four-year-old Carnel Chamberlain.
Bennett was charged with first-degree murder, assault of a child, assault with a dangerous weapon, animal cruelty and witness tampering, the Associated Press reported.
“We’re not surprised,” defense attorney Anthony Chambers said. “We’ll go forward and defend the case.”
In June, Bennett was charged with assault resulting in substantial bodily injury to a child younger than 16.
Bennett was living with Carnel and his girlfriend, Carnel’s 21-year-old mother, Jaimee Chamberlain, on the Saginaw Chippewa Indian trial reservation when Carnel went missing.
On June 21, Carnel was reported missing from his home by his mother after she left him in Bennett’s care while she was at work. After a weeklong search, his remains were found charred under their porch.
“The Tribal community has waited for quite some time for this to occur and now we begin our journey towards justice,” Tribal Council member Louanna Bruner said in a press release.
During the investigation, Bennett was charged with an earlier assault on Carnel, keeping him in custody while authorities developed the murder case against him, the AP reported.
In June, Jaimee Chamerbalin told the FBI that she saw her son with a bruised and swollen face, as well as a cut lip in late May or early June. She said he had been struck by Bennett while she was away, according to a two-page criminal complaint, according to the AP.
A few days later, she saw Bennett pick up her son by the neck and drop him before dragging him into a room by his foot, according to the court document.
In June, Bennett was charged with assault resulting in substantial bodily harm to a child under 16.
In November 2010, he was sentenced to resisting arrest and failing to stop for a police or conservation officer in Isabella County, but did not serve the maximum sentence of two and three years, respectively, in May of 2011.
Bennett is currently being held in the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.