Father charged as accomplice to capital murder in 3-year-old’s death

Everette Cawley, 24, and his wife, McKenna Belcher, 27, appear in a Miller County courtroom April 5, 2019

The father of a 3-year-old girl who was allegedly beaten to death last year by her stepmother has been charged in Miller County as an accomplice to capital murder.

Everette Cawley, 24, and his wife, McKenna Belcher, 27, are both facing charges in the April 2 death of McKinley Cawley. McKinley died April 2 in a Little Rock hospital.

Belcher is facing a charge of capital murder and the state has announced it will seek the death penalty. Belcher is also charged with battery for injuries found on McKinley’s younger brother. Everette Cawley is charged with two counts of permitting the abuse of a minor and as accomplice to capital murder, according to Miller County court records.

Prosecutors have not announced whether Everette Cawley will face the death penalty. Accomplice to capital murder has the same punishment as capital murder, death or life without parole.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Everette Cawley ran through the doors of St. Michael’s hospital emergency room around 4:30 a.m. April 2 with McKinley in his arms. She was found to be suffering from numerous blunt force injuries which medical staff suspected were the result of child abuse.

Everette Cawley allegedly admitted to investigators that Belcher had beaten the children. He is accused of failing to protect his children from a prior relationship.
Belcher has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and battery. Everette Cawley has pleaded not guilty to permitting the abuse of a minor but has not appeared in court since the charges against him were amended to include accomplice to capital murder.

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