Man found guilty in murder of 5-year-old Detroit girl

Mariha Smith found tortured, killed, burned inside vacant home on Waverly Street

Mariha Smith
Mariha Smith

DETROIT – A man has been found guilty on six charges including second degree murder and torture in the death of his girlfriend's 5-year-old niece in 2011.

Mariha Smith's body was found burned in July 2011 inside a vacant house on Waverly Street. She was found hours before her mother noticed her missing. An autopsy showed she had been raped.

Darnell Cheatham faced charges including murder, felony murder, torture and child abuse, and disinterment and mutilation of a body. He was 22 years old at the time.

A judge declared a mistrial in late July 2014 after a jury deadlocked during deliberations. After a second trial this year, a jury found Cheatham guilty on Wednesday.

Darnell Cheatham
Darnell Cheatham

-- Darnelll Cheatham

Cheatham's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 6. He could get life in prison.

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