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Murder charge filed against man suspected of killing baby girl

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on July 30, 2008 at 12:36 pm |
July 30, 2008 12:36 pm

Pierce County prosecutors today filed a second-degree murder charge against a man suspected of killing his girlfriend’s 1-year-old daughter last week.


Steven Andre Dwight Kendall, 23, is to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. today.


Prosecutors allege in charging documents that Kendall killed Aaliyah Kahalewai on Friday at her mother’s Parkland apartment. He was taking care of the girl while her mother worked, the documents state.


A motive was not given.


Kendall told investigators the girl sustained a number of falls during the day and that at one point he accidentally banged her head against a wall as he turned while holding her.


An autopsy showed Aaliyah suffered “a massive blow” to her abdomen and “complex fractures of her skull” which were not consistent with injuries sustained during short falls, the charging papers state.


Kendall also told detectives the girl was injured when a bookcase fell on her, but they found no evidence the piece of furniture recently was disturbed, the documents state.


UPDATE: A plea of not guilty was entered on Kendall’s behalf at his arraignment this afternoon.


Superior Court Judge Vicki Hogan ordered Kendall jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail at the request of deputy prosecutor Jerry Costello.


Costello told Hogan it appears Kendall “lost his temper” and killed the girl. The defendant has no previous criminal conviction history, the deputy prosecutor said.


Public defender Lisa Contris, who represented Kendall at the arraignment, did not argue the bail amount. She reserved that fight for the attorney permanently assigned to handle the case.


Aaliyah’s mother, Azhalane Kahalewai, attended the hearing. She met with reporters afterward.


Kahalewai said she’d left her daughter with Kendall on previous occasions, and there were no problems.


“I never thought he would do anything to hurt her like this,” she said.


Kahalewai said Aaliyah was always smiling.


“She brought a lot of joy to my life,” she said. “I just wish I could turn back the hands of time.”

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