While Christopher McNabb was sentenced with life in prison without parole, Cortney Bell was given 30 years in prison. The charges were, however, based on circumstantial evidence.
Just 15-days after she was born, baby Caliyah was found dead in the woods of Newtown County in Georgia. Her parents, Christopher Michael McNabb and Cortney Marie Bell have been charged with killing their daughter after they got high on meth on the night of October 7, 2017, before reporting her missing the next day, reports Fox5atlanta. The baby was found with blunt force injuries to her skull and in a drawstring bag not very far from the couple's trailer home 8 days later. There is however no conclusive evidence to prove the direct link of Caliyah's death with her parents and one can say that the matter could have been deliberated better.
However, one thing that was certain is that the parents were extremely negligent. It took a Newton County jury only an hour to decide the matter on Tuesday. All throughout the court proceedings, McNabb maintained his innocence to Superior Court Judge John Ott. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 10 years, to be served consecutively. Bell broke down several times when her sentence was being read out. Judge Ott gave her 30 years in prison with 15 years to serve, plus another 10-year sentence to serve concurrently. A heartwrenching interaction ensued between the accused, the judge, and the prosecutors. Bell said, “Y’all know I didn’t do this," to which the judge replied that her actions “flies in the face of what any mother would do” by using drugs. Bell replied and said, “It’s a sickness but I tried to be a good mama.” McNabb's lawyer, Anthony Carter said in defense of his client, "Probably the worst thing that could happen to Chris is that he loses his child and then he goes to prison for killing his child when he didn't do it."
Defense attorneys tried to reason with the jury and told them that despite the impressions made by tattoos covering McNabb’s face, the fact that McNabb beat Bell while she was pregnant and even the fact that the couple used drugs, it, however, did not make them guilty of murder. "Nothing my client did caused that death. All of you know what caused that child's death. That's nothing my client did or could've prevented," said Brian Frost, who represented Bell. According to the defense, there was someone who came into the couple’s mobile home on the morning of October 7, 2017.
Christopher McNabb and Cortney Bell wiped tears from their eyes as jury listened to Bell’s 911 call that their two-week old daughter Caliyah McNabb was missing. Prosecutors—they murdered Caliyah. Trial testimony now underway: https://t.co/kPFCnD6rfw #11Alive pic.twitter.com/CmXa8znuqf— Jon Shirek (@JonShirek) May 7, 2019
Chris McNabb’s def atty just finished closing. He argued to jury his client loved his child and Pros did not provide evidence BRD that client killed Baby Caliyah. Also noted bad investigation of police. Now, it’s time for Bell’s atty’s Argument. #McNabbBellTrial— Latonia P Hines (@LatoniaPHines) May 14, 2019
They argued that while the couple slept that morning, someone took their baby and the bag belonging to McNabb in which the child’s body was later found. However, on the prosecution side, a totally different story was shown. District Attorney Layla Zon said all the evidence pointed at McNabb being guilty. He said, "All this fake crying and fake tears he did during the interviews about how much he loved his children and that he did in the courtroom are a joke," Zon, however, did acknowledge that while the state doesn’t believe that Bell physically murdered her child, her negligence, however, let to Caliyah's death.
The case against Christopher Michael McNabb and Cortney Marie Bell will start tomorrow morning. The Covington News will be your go-to source for live coverage of the entire process. https://t.co/TPXXagV6iF— The Covington News (@covnews) May 6, 2019
I wonder, Julie ... have any of you had the occasion to interview any or all of the jurors as to the events/conversations/reasoning behind the very swift and unanimous verdict returned in the McNabb Bell murder trial?— Louise Leighton (@l8onlou) May 15, 2019
Zon added that McNabb was manipulative and loved neither his daughter Caliyah nor Bell. "That child didn't do anything but need love, and her daddy killed her," said Zon. According to a report in AJC, the couple has another daughter they had two years ago named Clarissa. She was the one who first told the two about the baby having gone missing on the morning of October 8, 2017. Bell immediately called 911 while McNabb left the trailer to look for his daughter the report wrote. When the police arrived, McNabb was not at his trailer. A number of investigators later testified that he was "wet and seemed nervous." He told them he had been in the woods looking for his baby. Even Bell gave similar accounts of the morning. The same evening, McNabb made an emotional plea in front of television cameras for his baby.