A central Michigan man accused of assaulting a 4-year-old boy last summer has been charged with killing him.
A federal grand injury indicted Anthony Bennett on Wednesday. He's accused of killing Carnel Chamberlain, whose badly burned remains were found June 28 under the boy's home near Mt. Pleasant.
Authorities discovered the remains after a weeklong search on the Saginaw Chippewa Indian reservation.
Bennett was living on the reservation with Carnel and the boy's mother.
Bennett has been in custody about five months.
He was charged with an earlier assault on the boy while authorities developed the murder case against him.
In addition to the murder charge, the grand jury also returned indictments for assault against the child and his mother, as well a charge of animal cruelty, and two counts of witness tampering.
Defense lawyer Anthony Chambers says the murder charge is not a surprise. He says he plans to fight the charges.
Late Wednesday, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe issued this statement:
"The Tribal Community has waited for quite some time for this to occur and now we can begin our journey toward justice," said Tribal Council member Louanna Bruner. "There is no place, nor should there be in any community, for tolerance toward abuse, and or murder of anyone whether a child, defenseless [or] vulnerable persons."
If convicted of first-degree murder, Bennett faces a mandatory term of life imprisonment.
Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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