Charges dismissed in Hamtramck girl's death

James David Dickson

A Hamtramck judge dismissed charges against Christopher Olinger and Asia Markham, who are accused of killing Markham’s 16-month-old daughter Amina, the court confirmed.

The pair faced charges of felony murder and first-degree murder. Those charges were dismissed without prejudice at a hearing Tuesday in Judge Alexis Krot’s courtroom at the 31st District Court in Hamtramck, which means prosecutors are allowed to present charges again. A court staffer confirmed the dismissal, but declined to share details on how that decision was reached.

Wyatt Harris, attorney for Markham, explained the dismissal as a matter of the judge following the law.

“If a prosecutor isn’t able to prove, by a probable cause standard in this case, that crimes were committed and that it was my client who committed them, the judge has to follow the law,” Harris said. “So it’s not surprising from that standpoint.”

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement it is reviewing the court's ruling and that no decision regarding a possible appeal has been made.

Lillian Diallo, attorney for Olinger, expressed shock that charges were ever brought against her client.

“There was no proof that was put on the record that would substantiate any child abuse — any abuse, period — between him and that poor child. I didn’t even know how he was charged. No one ever said anything he ever did wrong but be the boyfriend of the mother of that baby.”

Diallo added that in reviewing discovery evidence from the prosecution with her client at Wayne County Jail, they came to believe the case against Olinger was weak.

“Hopefully, through due diligence, they will come up with the correct party and the correct charges,” Diallo said. “Someone did something to that baby.”

At a preliminary examination earlier in December, Shauntavia Markham, Asia’s sister, testified that Olinger was never actually alone with the toddler on the day she died.

At that same hearing, Lokman Sung, assistant medical examiner with the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, said the child’s injuries before her death included 16 blunt-force impacts to her face and skull, as well as internal bleeding and bruising, and that those injuries took place just before her death.

That prelim was cut short and adjourned to Tuesday after another sister of Markham was unable to show up and testify.

Around 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 25, police arrived at a home in the 2600 block of Commer and found the child unresponsive. The Wayne County Medical Examiner determined that Amina was the victim of homicide, by way of blunt-force trauma.