Daveeta Walker, a 25-year-old mother from Kalamazoo, is accused of abusing and torturing her 4-year-old daughter, Kharisma, to death. Judge Vincent Westra determined that there was sufficient evidence for the case to be heard in front of a jury, and so he bound her over for trial in the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court. However, a trial date has not been scheduled yet.
Walker has been charged with a total of four felonies, including two counts of felony murder, and single counts of first-degree child abuse and torture. Under Michigan law, felony murder means that the murder was committed during the perpetration of another felony specific crime – in this case, torture and first degree child abuse.
During Walker’s most recent court hearing, Kalamazoo Police detectives provided testimony based on interviews they had conducted with Walker after Kharisma’s death. One officer, detective Sheila Goodell, told the court that Walker had admitted to “whooping” Kharisma several times a day. Usually this was because she had wet herself as a result of not being fully potty trained.
On the day before Kharisma’s death, which happened to be her fourth birthday, Walker allegedly told officers that she punched Kharisma in the chest. This apparently caused the girl to slump against the wall and start crying before going to her room as she was told. Later, when running the girl a bath, Walker told officers that her daughter had complained about the water being too cold, and so Walker had turned it to the hottest setting, accidentally scalding the child’s feet.
According to Detective Goodell, in response to Kharisma’s burn injuries on her feet and legs, Walker said that made some phone calls for advice and attempted to buy some burn cream at a nearby store. But the cream was apparently too expensive, and so she didn’t do anything else to treat the injuries.
Kharisma was found in her bed, unresponsive and not breathing, the following morning. Walker called 911 and responding officers attempted unsuccessfully to revive her. Walker’s other three children, boys aged 3 to 6, were allegedly found in another room watching a pornographic movie. CPS removed the three boys and placed them in foster homes. CPS had filed a petition to terminate Walker’s parental rights.
Although Walker has admitted to police that she punched all four of her children, and that she used a belt to hit Kharisma, she has also explained that she is struggling with depression. She also admitted that she was very frustrated that her daughter wasn’t properly potty trained. “I never meant to try and kill her,” she said to officers during one of several interviews after Kharisma’s death, “it was just discipline.”
We will be following this case at it proceeds through the courts, and updating you as to new developments.