Mother charged with murder in toddler daughter’s death appears in court — (CBS46)

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CBS46

Posted: Aug 28, 2018 8:15 PM EDT Updated: Aug 30, 2018 11:14 AM EDT

By WGCL Digital Team

NEWTON COUNTY, GA – The Newton County mother charged with murder after telling a 911 dispatcher she had shot her 2-year-old daughter appeared in court Thursday morning for a formal reading of her charges.

Jennifer Michelle Bellah, 31, was wearing what her court-appointed attorney described as a “suicide suit.”

According to deputies, Bellah called 911 Tuesday evening from the home of her mother and stepfather on Brown Thrasher Run near Oxford and said she had just shot her daughter.  When deputies arrived, they found two-year-old Natalya Bellah unresponsive. No one else was at home at the time of the shooting, detectives said.

Deputies arrested the mother, charging her with murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during commission of a crime and a misdemeanor charge of pointing a firearm at another.

“Investigators applied for and received a search warrant for the residence,” said deputies in a statement. “They recovered a pistol, spent shell casing and spent bullets at the scene.”

“Very terrible, tragic. It’s unimaginable,” next-door neighbor Michael Robinson said before he learned of the murder charge. “The little girl would always ride up and down the driveway in one of those little automated cars – a little kid car – and the mom would walk back and forth with her on the driveway.”

Robinson said the mother had moved in with her parents, the homeowners, roughly a year ago.

“Beautiful little girl,” Robinson recalled. “She’d be over there in the swimming pool, and you’d hear her over there splashing water and giggling.”

After the hearing, Bellah’s public defender Anthony Carter released the following statement:

In the weeks and days prior, including the day of the tragic death of her 2-year-old daughter, Natalya, Ms. Bellah sought and received treatment for mental health issues. Given Ms. Bellah’s tenuous mental health, we commend the Newton County Sheriff’s Department for outfitting her in a “suicide suit,” a protective garment designed to prevent a person from harming themselves, while she is being held at the jail and during her first appearance this morning.  Mr. Carter’s office will be fully investigating the mental health aspects of this case and their significance as they relate to the events of Tuesday, August 28.  

Bellah is scheduled to appear in court again on October 10 at 8:30 a.m. for a probable cause hearing.

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