Anthony Michael Bennett, 20, of Mount Pleasant will stand trial in April after being indicted by a federal grand jury in the murder of four year-old Carnel Chamberlain.
Saginaw Indian Chippewa Tribe Public Relations Director Frank Cloutier said Bennett will begin his trial April 23. Bennett was indicted earlier this month on first-degree murder, assault of a child, assault with a dangerous weapon, animal cruelty and witness tampering, Central Michigan Life previously reported.
“We’re not surprised,” defense attorney Anthony Chambers said. “We’ll go forward and defend the case.”
Bennett was living with Carnel and his girlfriend, Carnel’s 21-year-old mother, Jaimee Chamberlain, on the Saginaw Chippewa Indian tribal reservation when Carnel went missing.
“The tribal community is resolved to having an appropriate judicial outcome from the event to come,” Cloutier said.
On June 21, Carnel was reported missing by his mother after she left him in Bennett’s care while she was at work.
A week later, Carnel’s remains were found charred underneath the family’s porch.
In order to keep Bennett in custody while authorities defined the murder against him, police charged him on an earlier assault on Carnel.
“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 June, Jaimee told the FBI she saw her son with a bruised and swollen face and a cut lip after she left him in Bennett’s care in late May or early June.
A few days later, she saw Bennett pick up Carnel by the neck and drop him before dragging him into a room by his foot, according to a 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 by the Midland County Sheriff’s Office.