Sisters recount fight that led to 2-year-old’s shooting

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Two sisters described in court Thursday a free-for-all that began with Kool-Aid being spilled on a prom dress and ended with the shooting death of their 2-year-old niece.

Three men, brothers Antoine Smelley, 32, and Cleveland Smelley, 30, along with Deonta Charles Bennett, 21, have been charged in connection with the death of Makanzee Oldham.

Markeshia Crosby testified at a preliminary hearing for the three men in 36th District Court that she was getting ready to leave her sister’s home in the 16400 block of Fairmount on May 25 when Antoine Smelley ordered everyone to leave.

She said the Smelley brothers then began fighting with her cousins and other adults at the east side Detroit home.

Crosby said she scooped up her child, one of about eight children in the home, and ran toward the car of a relative who was trying to leave. Makanzee was placed in a car seat by another relative to escape the fight.

She said she heard Cleveland Smelley ask Bennett for a gun. The next thing she heard, Crosby said, was a bullet whizzing past her head.

“I felt like a flash went past my ear,” she said Thursday. “That’s when (another sister’s boyfriend) pulled off.”

Crosby said she later heard a 4-year-old boy riding in the car say, “He shot her. He shot her,” referring to Makanzee.

Makanzee was struck in the head by a bullet. She would have turned 3 this past Monday.

The child was rushed to St. John Hospital as, according to Crosby, Cleveland Smelley initially gave chase in his vehicle.

After a few days, Makanzee was taken off life support and her organs were donated, according to relatives. Her funeral was held last weekend.

Michelle Jenkins, who has children with Antoine Smelley, testified the shooting erupted after an argument about a soiled dress during a prom sendoff at the home Jenkins shared with Antoine Smelley.

“I told him he was wrong for spilling the drink on my sister,” Jenkins said. Jenkins said she later saw Cleveland Smelley at the home and there was an argument and a fight between the brothers and other adults at the home. She said Cleveland Smelley fired off the “first shot.”

Testimony to determine if the three men should be bound over for trial on the charges continues 1:45 p.m. June 22 before Judge Shannon Holmes.

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