Mom accused in kids deaths: I'm already saying I did it

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — Mitchelle Blair, the Detroit mom accused of killing two of her children and stuffing their bodies in a freezer, dropped a bombshell during a hearing in her murder case Friday, asking the judge to scrap her trial and send her straight to prison.

Blair stunned the courtroom Friday, calmly making the unusual request: "I'm already saying I did it. I'm freely giving myself ... expecting to get life in prison. My son (the surviving 8-year-old) is worth that."

Blair said she did not need to think about her decision to protect her surviving son from averse publicity and the gruesome details of the case.

"I did what I did for my babies," Blair said Friday. "I don't want him to see that I stood here like a coward. He's going to see me stand up taking my responsibility."

Judge Kenneth King, who sits on the 36th District Court bench, told Blair her request is an "unusual circumstance" and the court needs both reports from the two doctors who performed competency exams on her before a decision is made on her request to plead guilty to first-degree murder.

"This is a sensitive situation," King told Blair. "We have to make sure all of our T's are crossed and I's dotted." King also reminded Blair "these are very serious charges ... very serious consequences."

"I want you to think long and hard about pleading guilty to first-degree murder charges," King said.

Blair responded: "I understand all of it."

Also at the hearing, Blair was found competent to stand trial and waived her preliminary examination. She was questioned Friday and acknowledged she turned down her right to be evaluated for criminal responsibility. Her next court date is June 26.

Blair's attorney, Wyatt Harris, said while Blair's request was "an unusual" move his client is of a "very sound" mind to do it. "She is clear in what she wants to do," Harris said. Blair is "absolutely" remorseful over the deaths of her children, said Harris, who added the details about the murders of the children will come out "at some point." He would not address his client's claims her older children were raping younger siblings.

Blair, 35, is charged with torture and murder in the deaths of her 9-year-old son, Stephen Berry, and 13-year-old daughter, Stoni Blair. Their bodies were found in March inside a standalone freezer at the family's home at the Martin Luther King apartment complex. Blair also is charged with child abuse.

Blair is in the midst of a custody case brought against her by the state of Michigan regarding possible termination of her parental rights. She and the fathers of her children, Alexander Dorsey and Steven Berry, will find out June 30 from Wayne County Judge Edward Joseph if they have lost the rights over an 8-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl. The three have attended several days of hearings at the Wayne County juvenile court in the matter.

The woman's parental rights were suspended after she was charged with felony murder, premeditated murder and torture in addition to child abuse offenses.

Friday's preliminary hearing, which traditionally includes testimony from investigators and other witnesses, was to be held to determine if the defendant should face trial in the case.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office has not commented on Blair's request only saying through its spokeswoman Maria Miller that "at the appropriate time we will consider the defendant's desire to plea guilty."

"I'm not going to change my mind," Blair said. "It just is what it is."

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