Fight outside courthouse after hearing for pregnant woman's murder

A fight broke outside of 36th District Court Thursday morning after two men were arraigned in the murder of a pregnant Melvindale woman.

- A fight broke outside of 36th District Court Thursday morning after two men were arraigned in the murder of a pregnant Melvindale woman.

We're told the family of the victim, Amanda Benton, and the family of the two suspects, 23-year-old Jacob Barnes and 16-year-old Jeremy Lee, were in court.

After the hearing was over, things turned violent outside between the two sides. Emotions unleashed with a fury of punches from the uncle of Amanda Benton,  a woman pregnant with her fourth child, who was found beaten and burned to death in the trunk of her car on the southwest side of Detroit. 

Multiple people were handcuffed. That uncle was taken into custody for the assault. The person on the receiving end of the punches, a relative of 16 year old Jeremy Lee. 

Barnes and Lee have been charged for the murder of Benton. Although a teenager, Lee will be charged as an adult offender.

Benton, 29, of Melvindale, was a mother of three and was five months pregnant with her first girl. Her body was found last Friday in an abandoned home, discovered to be beaten and burned.

"Jeremy did not kill that girl," said Kim Lee, mother of the suspect. "He will do his time for what he did but the truth will come out."

The other man accused of murder, 23 year old Jacob Barnes, is a habitual offender. 

"He's just from the neighborhood, we don't know Jacob we just met him. Not even a month ago," Lee said.

But when these two families met outside the courtroom, the mother of the victim tried to be the voice of reason.

"They killed my daughter and granddaughter. let's stop, everybody just walk away," said Florine Harper. "It was like yesterday I carried my baby out of the hospital wrapped in a blanket. Now I'm carrying her in a box."

Harper says she didn't know either suspect, but admits her daughter did have an addiction problem. 

"My daughter was fighting her demons I'm not going to hide it," Harper said, who can't fathom the brutal way Amanda was killed. "They beat her in her the face so bad they snapped my daughters neck.

"They were driving around with her in the trunk of the car. I pray to god that my baby was gone before they set her a fire."

Lee and Barnes are being held without bond.

 


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