Judge denies father's request to attend 11-year-old daughter's funeral
Deandre Kelley, 34, is charged with the shooting death of Achauntiara Lanza
Prosecutor: "This is the end of the road for this enabling"
A Cincinnati man charged with fatally shooting his 11-year-old daughter Thursday was denied a temporary release to attend the girl’s funeral.
Citing security concerns, state court Judge Nadine Allen denied a motion filed by a lawyer for Deandre Kelley, 34, who was charged with the shooting death of daughter Achauntiara Lanza during an argument with the victim’s mother, according to bailiff Gail Ruth.
Kelley’s lawyer, Hugh McCloskey Jr., said the judge expressed concern that people might want to hurt his client or that his presence at the funeral could spark a dispute.
“This motion was requested because it was requested by Mr. Kelley’s family, especially the deceased young lady’s mother,” he said. “This is a family unit, whether we like it or not. They’re suffering right now. In order to start healing, it’s something they need to go through together.”
The mother, who was not identified, could not be reached for comment.
Prosecutors said Kelley showed up at slumber party Lanza was hosting at her mother’s house in the early hours of of January 12 and argued with her mother. Kelley allegedly fired his gun into the air during the exchange, with an errant bullet striking Lanza in an upstairs bedroom.
The girl, struck in the upper torso, was later pronounced dead at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Prosecutors said the dispute began hours before the shooting: Kelley and the victim’s mother argued because he brought a gun into the home while the girl was having a slumber party with friends. Kelley left and went drinking.
When he returned about 3:00 a.m., Kelley was intoxicated, prosecutors said in a statement. Children watching TV on the first floor let him in. The mother was upstairs sleeping. Kelley entered and fired a shot out of the front door. The girl’s mother came down and ordered Kelley to leave. He fired two additional shots, one striking his daughter, who was hiding in an upstairs bedroom.
Kelley, who turned himself in the next day, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, endangering children and having a weapon under disability – a charge stemming from a prior conviction for cocaine possession.
Kelley had three prior domestic violence charges involving the victim’s mother – which were dismissed when she failed to appear in court.
“There has been a lot of public discussion that the ‘system’ failed this family,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters said in a statement at the time of Kelley’s indictment. “This defendant has been charged with domestic violence three times and was never convicted because the witness would not cooperate. Now, in an incredibly senseless act, he has killed his daughter and the mother wants him to attend the funeral.
He added, “This is the end of the road for this enabling. He needs to be in jail and the rest of them should be looking in the mirror for the reason this little girl is dead.”
Kelley, who has pleaded not guilty, is being held on bond $500,000 bond. Lanza’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday.