Who will answer for Malechi’s death?

Grand jury declined to indict the two suspects identified by Dayton police.

DAYTON — Police never arrested Denise Stinson and Mark Newberry on a charge of killing 2-year-old Malechi Wilson.

A six-month investigation yielded warrants for felony child endangering because Stinson and/or Newberry failed to seek immediate medical attention for the child, investigators said.

There are still some questions surrounding who inflicted the blow(s) that caused Malechi to bleed to death internally.

Denise Stinson’s family said Malechi spent part of June 9 at a day-care center before going home.

Police have previously said Newberry was alone with the boy later that afternoon.

Stinson’s future mother-in-law, Renee McCoy, said she dropped Denise off that day at a bus stop in downtown Dayton about 4:45 p.m.

Stinson was going to catch a bus to Newberry’s northwest Dayton home and the earliest she could have arrived there was about 5:25 p.m., McCoy said.

Just before 8 p.m. Stinson called 911, hysterical. She said Malechi must have had an asthma attack or a seizure and wasn’t breathing, according to 911 audio.

At 8:46 p.m. Malechi was pronounced dead at Dayton Children’s Medical Center.

Stinson and Newberry were arrested hours later on child endangering charges.

Lt. Patrick Welsh said Malechi has been in “obvious physical distress for a number of hours” before his death.

Lead homicide Sgt. Gary White said last week his detectives’ investigation never moved off Newberry or Stinson.

“At first we did not have the complete medical evidence and records to determine the amount of physical abuse suffered by Malechi,” White said. “Additional (investigating) by detectives proved inconsistencies and contradictions in the information first provided by both suspects during the initial investigation.

“These additional findings proved sufficient to prosecutors to issue (arrest) warrants,” he said.

Stinson and Mark Newberry both refused numerous requests for interviews about this story.

So what happened?

Mark Newberry’s and Denise Stinson’s arrests on Oct. 30 was a benchmark moment for the Dayton Police Department, but a homicide detective’s job is never done until a grand jury indictment is secured.

White would not comment if he knew why a week later a Montgomery County grand jury declined to indict the couple.

He referred all questions to the county Prosecutor Mathias Heck’s office.

Heck’s spokesman, Greg Flannagan, said this week that grand jury proceedings are secret and commenting on evidence or facts about an open case would be “unethical.”

It is unusual for Heck’s office to approve a charge, give the OK for police to get an arrest warrant and then have a grand jury turn the case down.

“Approximately 85 percent of the felony cases presented to the grand jury are indicted,” Flannagan said.

That’s because a grand jury is not charged with proving a charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

Jurors have to find probable cause, meaning was a crime likely committed and it was likely committed by the defendant(s).

But prosecutors are not privy to grand jury deliberations, so it’s unclear if they know why charges were refused.

What is clear is that Malechi Wilson was beaten to death, investigators said.

Flannagan did say after the jury’s decision detectives were given a short list of things they needed to investigate that might warrant new charges in the case.

“Denise knows what happened to Malechi and Mark, too,” Stinson’s father, Derrick Stinson said. “He was a great boy, full of life. Someone needs to start telling the truth because he doesn’t deserve none of this.”

Searching for stability

Constant upheaval plagued the short life of the 2-year-old Malechi Wilson.

Shortly after Malechi’s birth his biological father, Terry Wilson, gave up all his parental rights, Denise Stinson said at Malechi’s prayer vigil in June.

In October 2007, a year after Malechi was born, Montgomery County Children Services looked into the child’s living conditions, and a short time later he was placed in foster care, agency spokeswoman Ann Stevens said.

The agency won’t release any details about why he was removed from the home or why Malechi was returned to Stinson’s custody two months before his death.

Stinson’s family said this week Stinson’s drug and alcohol problems, along with the lack of a steady job led to her temporarily losing custody of Malechi.

“He was being neglected,” said Derrick Stinson. “Denise is a loving person and cares a lot for people and her children. But she chose work and partying over Malechi.”

Derrick Stinson, 47, said he and his fiancee got temporary custody of Malechi after he was taken from Denise, but returned him to foster care because they couldn’t work and take care of the boy.

His time with a foster mother seemed to be the most stable period of Malechi’s life, Stinson’s family said.

“His foster mother was wonder,” said Renee McCoy, Derrick Stinson’s fiancee. She potty-trained him and helped him learn his ABCs.”

Prior and during his stint in foster care, Denise Stinson’s family said and police reports show she struggled to find a stable residence and enjoyed going out.

In May 2007 she was evicted from the Holden House, a government-assisted housing complex, and was arrested for trespassing after she returned and tried to hide behind a bathroom door.

In March 2008 she was involved in a fight at Big E Bar at 1938 N. Main St. a month before regaining custody of Malechi.

A woman got upset with Stinson for dancing with her boyfriend and allegedly stabbed her with a broken glass mug, according to a police report.

Despite her struggles, Derrick Stinson said his daughter fought to get Malechi back.

As part of her safety plan with Children Services, Denise Stinson had to meet certain criteria, which included finding a stable place of her own, her family said.

Newberry provided home for Stinson

While trying to regain custody of Malechi, Denise Stinson, then 22, met Mark Newberry, a 44-year-old slender and polished man with his own house.

Newberry had a good job as director of marketing for Jeni King, a commercial cleaning service, and had political aspirations.

Stinson’s family said the two met while working together and immediately hit it off.

Newberry had failed at runs for a Dayton City Commission seat in May and also ran in 2008 for a seat on the Montgomery County Commission.

Newberry also has had run-ins with police.

In March 2008 he was arrested, accused of assaulting his sister’s son with a board that had nails sticking out of it, according to a police report.

He was found guilty of misdemeanor assault, sentenced to 180 days in jail and ordered to take anger management classes as part of his parole, according to court records.

Newberry was also found guilty of domestic violence in 2001 and 2004, according to court records.

Stinson’s family said those are the reasons Malechi should never have been released into his home in April.

Derrick Stinson blames Montgomery County Children Services, saying they did not even check Newberry’s background or his home before releasing Malechi back to Denise.

Stevens said her agency makes recommendations in child-custody cases, but the final decision is up to the court.

“Children Services has no way to dictate who people live with,” Stevens said. “As a parent you need to ask yourself if you can you trust your partner with your child.”

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2494 or lsullivan@DaytonDailyNews.com.

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