He's charged only with assaulting a young boy who later turned up dead on the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Reservation -- but what happens if Anthony Bennett is charged in the death of 4-year-old Carnel Chamberlain?
Bennett is in federal custody and faces a detention hearing on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in Bay City Federal Court.
The Detroit Free Press reports Bennett could face the death penalty if he's charged with murder because the crime happened on federal land.
The lawyer assigned to the case is Anthony Chambers, a prominent defense attorney who has handled a number of federal death penalty cases in the last 20 years.
Carnel Chamberlain's body was found under the porch of his mother's home a week after he went missing. Bennett was living with Carnel's mother and the boy at the home near Mount Pleasant. Police were back at the scene last Friday where they took apart the porch and part of the home's siding to search for more evidence.
Officials said Bennett was taken into custody around 6:30 p.m. last Thursday at his sister's home, which is also located on the reservation.
This isn't Bennett's first run-in with the law -- he has a criminal record, including a felony assault on a police officer for trying to flee from police during a drunken driving stop. According to 24 News 8, the grandmother of an ex-girlfriend of Bennett's said she saw his dark side when he took her granddaughter's dog, killed it and set it on fire.
For days, investigators searched woods, ponds and the tribe's wastewater treatment areas to no avail. Sources close to the investigation told TV5 remains of the little boy's body were actually found earlier this week, but it took a few days to confirm they were his.
Family members told TV5 that may be because the boy's remains were badly burned.
Neighbors told TV5 that Thursday they could smell a "barbeque-like" smell coming from the general area of the house on the day of his disappearance.
Bennett is due to appear before a judge as the feds present further evidence against him sometime this week. The tribe said all questions regarding the case are to be direct to the Bay City FBI office.
A federal public defender's website states that a detention hearing is:
When a person is arrested on federal charges, often the government wants him detained (held without bail) while the case is pending. The government will file a motion for detention, and a magistrate judge will hear evidence to determine whether the accused should be detained or released on conditions.
The issue in a detention hearing is whether there is any combination of conditions of release that will ensure that the accused will appear in court and not harm the community. In federal drug conspiracy cases, there is almost always a presumption of detention. When the magistrate finds that there is probable cause to believe the accused committed a federal drug crime with a possible sentence of ten years or more, it is presumed that no combination of conditions of release will ensure his appearance and the safety of the community.
An indictment is enough to show that there is probable cause. So a person indicted for a federal drug conspiracy is at a disadvantage from the beginning of a detention hearing.
Copyright WNEM 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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