Columbus man accused of murdering girlfriend's baby appears in c -, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus man accused of murdering girlfriend's baby appears in court


Damian Belle, 19, was in court Friday morning, March 28, for a preliminary hearing as he faces charges in the murder of his girlfriend's baby.

Belle pleaded not guilty to the crime.

Investigators say Belle punched baby Ki'Ja in the face, and dropped her on her head.

A 14 year-old who was in the home at the time witnessed the incident, according to investigator testimony. Police say the 14 year-old ran home, but did not call police.

Belle and his father drove the baby to a fire station for help. The baby died Monday, March 24, at Egleston Children's Hospital in Atlanta. She had been transferred there from Midtown Medical Center.

Preliminary findings in the autopsy have determined the cause of death to be Blount Impact Head Trauma. Autopsy is not officially complete.

Investigators say Ki'Ja had bleeding on the brain, retinal and intracranial hemorrhaging. Police also report the victim was brain dead.

Belle's defense team says he's remorseful about this tragic event, but maintains his innocence. They allege investigators are withholding proof that Belle committed this crime. 

Defense Attorney Mark Shelnut said, "We haven't seen all the evidence, or gotten copies of any of the autopsy reports. We haven't seen the evidence that's actually connecting him to being responsible for the death of this child. We're denied that."

Belle is not the biological father of the victim.

Belle is being held in the Muscogee County Jail without bond.

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