Mom who stored kids’ bodies in freezer gets life term

Oralandar Brand-Williams and Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — Mitchelle Blair, the mother who pleaded guilty last month to killing two of her children and putting their bodies in a standalone freezer in the family’s home, will spend the rest of her life behind bars for the gruesome crime.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway sentenced the 36-year-old Blair to life without the possibility of parole during her sentencing hearing Friday.

In giving out her punishment, Hathaway told Blair her children lived in fear of her and that that she created a “House of Horrors” for her four children.

“You imposed the death penalty on your own children,” Hathaway told Blair who stood before the judge.

“As a mother, one of your primary responsibilities was to protect your kids . You failed them,” Hathaway said Friday. “Nothing can be done at this point.”

Responded Blair: “I know, that’s why I’m asking for life.”

During the sentencing, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Carin Goldfarb said none of Blair’s surviving children had been sexually abused. Blair’s defense attorney, Wyatt Harris, said his client has taken responsibility for what she did and stands by her story that she killed her two children because she believed they were sexually abusing a relative.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Dana Hathaway sentences Mitchelle Blair to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Blair lashed out at Goldfarb saying “how dare you say that didn’t happen to my (child). You weren’t there.”

As she had done in past hearings, Blair blamed the dads of her four children for failing to help her. Harris — who said Blair had been abused as a child, was uneducated and had no support for her or her children — questioned the dads, one of whom was in the courtroom, during the sentencing about why they weren’t there for Blair and their kids.

“They chose not to see them. For two years you don’t see your child?” Harris asked.

One of the fathers, Alexander Dorsey, watched Friday as Blair was sentenced to life in prison. Dorsey, the father of Blair’s daughters, gave a statement to the judge, but not publicly.

Blair gave a rambling statement Friday, which included blaming Dorsey for being an absentee dad.

“I am the one always calling (the dads),” Blair said. “As horrendous as people think I am that’s fine. I am the only one telling the truth.”

Blair shouted curse words at Dorsey as she left the courtroom.

Last month, Blair gave graphic details in court about how she killed her 9-year-old son, Stephen Berry, and 13-year-old daughter, Stoni Blair. The mother of four told Hathaway about the events that led to her decision to commit the crimes.

Authorities believe Stephen died Aug. 20, 2012, and his sister was killed nine months later on May 25, 2013. Their bodies were found earlier this year by court officers coming to evict the family from their residence at the Martin Luther King Apartments on March 24.

Blair had been charged with two counts of felony murder, two counts of premeditated murder and one count of torture in the children’ s deaths. The other felony counts including torture and child abuse were dismissed at the Friday hearing. Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Maria Miller said the other charges were dismissed since Blair pleaded guilty to two offenses that “carry life in prison without parole and the others had lesser penalties.”

“This sentence today brings to a close the tragic and shocking set of circumstances surrounding the very short lives of Stoni Blair and Stephen Berry,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement after the sentencing. “There were no winners — only losers. I truly hope these children can finally rest in peace.”

Blair’s visitation rights to her two surviving children, an 8-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter, have been suspended. She also faces another hearing July 27 before Wayne County family judge Edward Joseph in an expected final decision on whether to permanently terminate her parental rights along with those of the two fathers of her dead and surviving two children.

Blair has admitted several times to killing Stephen and Stoni. She accused them of sexual assault. Blair said she “intentionally” killed her daughter.

“I punched her. I put a bag over her head until she lost consciousness,” Blair said at a June 30 hearing before Hathaway.

Blair said she also threw scalding water on the girl and hit her in the head many times. She said she starved her daughter by limiting her food to oatmeal once a day.

“If I had a chance to do it again, I would,” Blair said about killing her children. “I do not feel any remorse for what I did to Stoni because she had no remorse for what she did.”

Blair said she didn’t intend to kill Stephen, but she admitted she was proud she did. She told the judge she put a garbage bag over his head, choked him with a belt, punched him and burned the boy with scalding water.

“I don’t feel no remorse for the death of those demons,” she said.

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