Trial begins for mother, fiancé charged with murder of 4-year-old daughter

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- A mother and her fiancé are on trial for child abuse and murder of a 4-year-old girl, who police say died from asphyxiation.

Kelly Ballinger charged with the child abuse of murder of her four-year-old daughter, Desray Thompson.

Desray Thompson, 4, died at home in July, when police were called to her home in Mt. Olivet after she was reported unresponsive. Thompson's mother Kelly Ballinger, and Ballinger's fiancé Matthew Longenecker, were charged with the girl's murder after police say the girl's body was bruised from mistreatment.

A picture of the four-year-old was shown to the jurors depicting deep bruises and injuries to the girl's head and face.

During opening statements Thursday, Kalamazoo Assistant Prosecutor Michael Stein described how Longenecker and Ballinger restrained the four-year-old at night with blankets, duct tape and a onesie so she could hardly breathe for a couple weeks leading up to her death. Stein told the jury the couple was more concerned about smoking methamphetamine than caring for Ballinger's daughter.

Matthew Longenecker charged with child abuse and murder of his fiancé's four-year-old daughter, Desray Thompson.

"So imagine: four-years-old, in a onesie, wrapped in blanket, wrapped in tape, unable to breathe, unable to move," said Stein. "And what did the defendant do? [Longenecker] ate pancakes while she died."

"On the night she died, she actually vomited, and was left in her vomit with a blanket over her head, in the middle of the summer, wrapped in blankets, taped in a onesie."

The defendants are represented separately, and there is a 12-person jury for each defendant. Monday, attorneys addressed the juries separately during opening statements.

Ballinger's defense attorney Eusebio Solis told the jury that Ballinger admitted to restraining her daughter, adding Ballinger says she wasn't always comfortable with the restraints. Solis shifted the blame to Longenecker, saying his relationship with the four-year-old deteriorated.

"[Longenecker] fixated on Desray," said Solis. "He singled her out: disciplined her for any little thing."

"The closer you get to the date July 9, Desray’s injuries increase. This is also clear: around that time, two, three days before that, Kelly just started a job. To make it worse, it was a third shift job that left Desray in the hands of Matthew Longenecker."

The trial resumes Friday in Kalamazoo County.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

5 comments

  • Sam Williams

    Ballinger like every other mother in facing the consequences of abuse, blames her boyfriend. Ballinger was the child’s mother – the man she chose to live with was not that little girl’s father. It was up to Ballinger to protect Desray and get her out of that environment but she did not. May they both burn in Hell. This little girl was tortured and then killed. I’m not going to listen to any talk of meth or one of them pointing the finger at the other. They are both guilty and deserve the maximum penalty the state allows. Ballinger also knew Longenecker had served time for a prior crime involving child abuse. She might as well have given him permission to kill her daughter. The prosecution seems focused on the method of “wrapping” Desray when she was in bed, but I hope the jury is urged to look at the photo of that little girl prior to her death. The wrapping did not cause the black eye and bruises to her face. That was from hitting her/punching her. She looks so sad in the photo. Where was everyone who could have and should have protected her? I am angry!