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Man Beat Infant Daughter To Death 'Out Of Frustration,' Prosecutors Say

By Erica Demarest | October 26, 2017 3:09pm
 Dartrell Nellem, 19, was denied bail Thursday on a first-degree murder charge.
Dartrell Nellem, 19, was denied bail Thursday on a first-degree murder charge.
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DNAinfo; Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A West Side man was denied bail Thursday on allegations he beat his daughter to death in 2016.

Dartrell Nellem, 19, could be heard wailing loudly as deputies brought him to a holding area inside the Leighton Criminal Courthous at 2650 S. California Ave. on Thursday afternoon.

Moments earlier, Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. said 2-month-old Komara Nellem "suffered a traumatic death, to say the least," after prosecutors detailed the girl's fatal injuries — including bleeding in her abdominal cavity, bruising on her face and hemorrhaging in her skull, brain, liver and colon.

According to prosecutors, Nellem picked up Komara from her mother's house sometime on June 11, 2016. The girl was in good health.

Nellem brought Komara to his mother's home in the 1200 block of South Kedvale Avenue, where his mother and aunt fed and burped the baby before leaving to run an errand, Assistant State's Attorney Jason Coelho said Thursday.

When the mother and aunt returned later that day, prosecutors said, they found Komara laying on Nellem's chest, unresponsive and not moving. The girl was taken via ambulance to Mount Sinai Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

According to Coelho, Nellem was alone with the baby the entire time his relatives were gone.

He later admitted to striking and shaking Komara "out of frustration," prosecutors said.

Nellem, of the 1100 block of North Noble Street, is now charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors did not explain Thursday why there was a delay in filing charges.

According to court testimony, Nellem has a pending domestic-battery case in west suburban Maywood.

His public defender said Nellem is a high school graduate who previously worked for UPS, FedEx and KFC. Nellem is studying to become a physical therapy assistant, the attorney said.