A man has stabbed his little 5-year-old daughter to death after she requested food and wouldn’t leave his room. A detective with the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office testified that Thomas McClellan admitted he “snapped” and killed the stepdaughter.
According to Lansing State Journal, Det. Chuck Buckland said McClellan told him he knocked Luna Michelle Younger down, sat on her hips and stabbed her in the chest, then covered the girl’s body with blankets, poured vodka on the pile and lit it on fire.
McClellan, 25, of Holt, is charged with murder, first-degree child abuse and first-degree arson in the girl’s Nov. 1 death. The charges carry penalties of up to life in prison. He was bound over for trial Thursday at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing in 55th District Court.
A medical examiner said during the preliminary hearing Younger died from at least five stab wounds to the chest and that burn wounds on her body took place after death.
Delhi Township firefighter Corey Drolett was among those who responded to the fire at the garden-level unit at the Old Orchard apartment complex on Keller Road in Holt.
He said Thursday that he at first didn’t see Younger’s body under the blankets, clothes and bedding material because he still thought she might be hiding from the fire. He looked in a closet and under the bed before finding her body under the pile, which still had glowing embers on top of it.
Drolett passed Younger’s body through a window to Jeffrey Young, the department’s commanding officer at the scene, who then instructed another firefighter to “very lightly” perform CPR on Younger.
“I knew the victim had expired,” Young said during testimony. “But based on the situation (I) felt that would show (the mother) that we were attempting some effort,” he said.
The girl’s mother, Victoria McClellan, told officials she was at work when the incident happened, but she and Timothy McClelland had been “bickering” earlier in the day.
She convinced him to surrender to police, and they took him into custody about four hours after the initial call, officials said at a hearing in November.
Judge Thomas Boyd ruled that there was enough evidence to bind McClelland over for trial on all three charges. A hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court will be set at a later date.
“I don’t think the judge’s decision today was a surprise,” Andrew Abood, McClellan’s attorney, said on Thursday afternoon. “I think the story has yet to be fully developed. We only saw part of the story at the preliminary exam.”
According to statements in court, McClellan has no criminal history.