On April 29, 2009, Andrea Kelly, 39, was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison for third-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child in the death of her 14-year-old daughter Danieal Kelly. A plea bargain agreement spared her a first-degree murder charge. (A more detailed account of the Danieal Kelly story can be found in this article — The Death of Danieal Kelly: Philadelphia’s Shame.)
The oldest of Andrea Kelly’s ten children, Danieal was a cerebral palsy victim of whom her mother was “embarrassed,” and whom she allowed to die of neglect. Danieal weighed just 42 pounds when her maggot-ridden body was found in the summer of 2006 in an unventilated room in the Kelly apartment. Despite confrontations by family and friends about Danieal’s condition, Andrea Kelly failed to get help for Danieal. Andrea Kelly entertained, furthered her education and fed her other children, while Danieal was not enrolled in school nor provided medical attention, and slowly starved to death.
Andrea Kelly’s friends, Marie Moses and Diamond Grantly, pled guilty on May 12, 2009, to perjury, a third-degree felony, for lying to the grand jury about the girl’s condition before her death. They could face up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Sentencing for Moses and Grantly is set for July 2nd, when Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner stated that he would consider sentencing Moses and Brantley to a combination of probation, community service and court costs, after defense attorneys recommended no-jail time. A third woman, Andrea Miles, a minor at the time of her offense, was charged as a juvenile, has pleaded guilty to perjury in Family Court and was sentenced to probation.
In testimony in November, 2006, Brantley and Moses claimed they visited the Kelly apartment the day before Danieal’s body was found. Brantley claimed Danieal “smelled clean and fresh.” Moses testified that the Danieal appeared “healthy” and like “her normal self,” and that the apartment was clean. The next day, paramedics found Danieal’s emaciated, maggot ridden body in an apartment they described as in “deplorable condition” and “unfit for human habitation,” with food containers, feces and piles of dirty clothes strewn about. One paramedic said it was one of the filthiest he had seen in ten years, as a paramedic.
Kelly’s lawyer, Richard Q. Hark, told reporters Andrea Kelly “was relieved to accept responsibility for her role in this case.” But he also claimed, “”Had one DHS worker done their job on one occasion, the child would be alive, and that’s why the more significant part of the case goes on.”
A grand jury investigation found that Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and a non-profit agency, MultiEthnic Behavioral Health Inc., out-sourced by DHS to follow Danieal’s case, were grossly negligent in their duties and complicit in Danieal Kelly’s death.
Two top city commissioners were fired, and DHS is now under new management. Authorities considered criminal charges against DHS officials but could not make a case for them; however, two former city social workers are charged with child endangerment. Dana Poindexter and Laura Sommerer, both since fired from DHS, have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and recklessly endangering another person.
Two MultiEthnic employees, caseworker Julius Juma Murray and co-founder Mickal Kamuvaka, are charged with involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child. Murray was assigned to make twice-weekly visits to Danieal. It is alleged that he rarely made any visits, and that he and the company owner forged reports. Kumavaka faces six to eight years in prison if convicted, and Murray faces three to five years.
On May 1st, a federal grand jury charged MultiEthnic with fraud, for fabricating bills for nonexistent or unfulfilled services. See full story here.
Daniel Kelly, 37, Danieal’s father and divorced from Andrea Kelly, did not live with Danieal at the time of her death. He was charged with endangering the welfare of a child after he relinquished custody to her unfit mother, fully aware of the deplorable conditions at Andrea Kelly’s home.
Last summer, Daniel and Andrea Kelly attempted to sue the City of Philadelphia for their daughter’s death, claiming the money would be for the support of Andrea Kelly’s other children, discussed in this article: Outrage! Parents of Danieal Kelly Suing City and DHS for not Preventing Their Daughter’s Death.
National World: Mom pleads guilty to starving girl
Philadelphia Inquirer: More charges in Danieal Kelly’s death
Philadelphia Inquirer: Mother sentenced to 40 years in death of Danieal Kelly