Jefferson Native Convicted of Murder

From Staff Reports
Gasps were audible on both sides of the heavilyguarded Harrison County District Courtroom Friday morning, some in relief, others in shock and disbelief, as Deterryon Tyrell Kelly was found guilty on the charge of first degree murder in the death of 21-month-old Ja’Keen Naevon Sanders. Kelly, age 29, is a native of Jefferson. The offense occurred on May 5, 2014 while Kelly, the suspect, and Jameshia Cooks, the victim’s mother, were staying at the Best Western Inn in Marshall.

According to the prosecution, Kelly was angry that the child had accidentally urinated on him during a diaper change. Around 11:00PM, while Cooks was taking a bath, Kelly removed Sanders to a vending machine room at the hotel where he brutally assaulted the boy.

Hotel security video shows Kelly striking Sanders on the head with his hand before entering the vending room. Kelly is then seen trying to get an apparently unconscious Sanders to stand after exiting the room. When the child was unable to stand, Kelly tossed him in the air several times in an apparent attempt to rouse the child. At one point Sanders can be seen doing a 360◦ summersault in the air. During this entire time, the child was apparently unable to hold his head in a normal position, his head visibly flopping about.

When it became apparent that Sanders was not going to be roused, Kelly took the child into the hotel lobby where he used a computer. Hotel employees reported that Sanders was initially resting on Kelly’s shoulder, and that Kelly eventually sat the child in a chair. The employees stated that the child “just didn’t look right,” and asked Kelly if Sanders was OK, to which Kelly replied that the child was fine. Another employee stated that she heard noises emanating from the vending room and asked Kelly if there was a problem when he exited. Kelly reportedly told her that he was trying to loosen a stuck piece of candy from the vending machine. The employee further noted that she found no candy stuck in the machine when she looked. Eventually, Kelly removed Sanders to his hotel room and put him to bed. In an apparent effort to distract Cooks, he took her outside to talk. When the couple retired to bed, Sanders appeared to be sleeping.

The child was found the next morning…

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