Sex Crimes

Detroit man convicted of abducting, killing his girlfriend's 5-year-old niece faces sentencing

A Detroit man convicted in the abduction and slaying of his girlfriend's 5-year-old niece faces sentencing.

Court records show 23-year-old Darnell Cheatham is due in court on Tuesday to learn his punishment. A jury in December found him guilty of second-degree murder, arson, torture and other crimes in the July 2011 death of Mariah Smith. He faces up to life in prison.

Authorities have said Mariah was taken from her east side home, raped and strangled. Her body was set afire on a mattress in a vacant house about a mile from her home.

A judge declared a mistrial in late July 2014 after a jury deadlocked during deliberations.

Defense lawyer Kareem Johnson has said witnesses that testified at the first trial offered different recollections during the second trial.