BAY CITY, Mich. (WOOD) - Anthony Bennett was charged with assaulting Carnel Chamberlain, the 4-year-old boy whose burned body was found under the house he lived in with his mother and Bennett on a mid-Michigan reservation.
Anthony Chambers, the court-appointed attorney for the 20-year-old Bennett, told 24 Hour News 8 Bennett was charged with one count of "Assault resulting in substantial bodily injury to child under 16."
Bennett is in custody of the US Marshal and will have a detention hearing Tuesday afternoon. Both Bennett and his attorney will be present at that hearing. It's expected Bennett will be arraigned after that hearing, Chambers said, followed by a preliminary exam on the evidence. Those court dates have not been set.
Chambers is a Detroit-area attorney who has extensive experience in federal court, including defending the the Detroit underwear bomber Umar Farouk Adbullmutallab.
Carnel Chamberlain went missing last week. His body was found Thursday when a search warrant of the Tomah Road home -- which is on Saginaw Chippewa tribal land -- was executed by Saginaw Chippewa tribal police, Michigan State Police and FBI agents.
The 4-year-old's badly burned body was found under a porch, family members told 24 Hour News 8.
Carnel lived at the home where his body was found with his mother, Jaimee Chamberlain, and her boyfriend, Anthony Bennett.
In the criminal complaint filed in the US District Court in Bay City, the FBI claims Carnel's mother told investigators she "understood Anthony Bennett to have assaulted" the boy more than once.
She also said, the complaint continues, "...that in late May or early June, 2012, Anthony Bennett asked her to sit down after she returned to her home on Tomah Road from work. Bennett asked Jaimee Chamberlain to tell (him) that she loved him. Chamberlain subsequently entered a bedroom where she saw Carnel Chamberlain on a bed with a bruised and swollen face ... a cut on the inside of his lip."
A few days later, she said, she saw "a six-to-eight inch-long bruise along Carnel's ribcage." She told investigators Bennett said he backhanded the child. Later, Carnel told his mother Bennett punched him at the house they lived in.
Then, a few days after that, Jaimee Chamberlain said, she saw "Anthony Bennett pick Carnel up by his neck and drop him. Anthony Bennett then pulled Carnel by his right foot from Jaimee Chamberlain's room to his, Carnel's, room, which was a distance of about 15 feet. Carnel's buttocks was bruised as a result of this assault."
The FBI described Bennett as "a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Native American Tribe and an 'Indian' as that term is used in the Major Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1153.
Violet Green, who used to live with Bennett, told 24 Hour News 8 as soon as she heard about Carnel, she feared the worst.
She's known Bennett for five years. He lived with her while he was dating her granddaughter. She believes he's responsible for Carnel's death.
"We slowly found out he (Bennett) wasn't a good person," she said. "It breaks my heart that somebody could do something to a child like that. Who sets somebody on fire? I want to know, did that boy suffer? Did he set him on fire alive, or did he beat him first and then set him on fire?"
Bennett, she said, was in and out of jail for much of his life. She finally kicked him out of her home when she saw his violent side first-hand.
"When he left, he took (my granddaughter's) dog and that when he kill her dog and set it on fire."
Bennett's criminal history dates back nearly a decade. Among other things, there was a restraining order against him for allegedly assaulting an ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her father.
Months later, he tried to escape from a police officer who was trying to arrest him for drunk driving. And when Bennett was 15, he told another youth he had stabbed his sister and was going to stab that youth, too.
24 Hour News 8 requested documents from the tribal court about Bennett's criminal past on the reservation, but it was denied "for the protection of the community."
Green said she wishes she could hug Carnel's mother, Jaime. "It takes forever for that pain to go away."
CNN Headline News host Nancy Grace interviewed Jaimee Chamberlain:
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