Chantella Mullen
May 29, 1997 - February 19, 1998
Find A Grave Memorial

When paramedics responded to a 911 call, they found a 16 year old girl holding a baby who had gone limp and was unconscious. Chanel told them that her daughter had fallen off of the couch. Chantella Mullen was brought to Mt Sinai Hospital Medical Center, doctors put her on life support when they saw that she had head injuries, bleeding eyes and bruising. What happened to Chantella is the same story we see time after time. Chantella's injuries were compared to  what would happen if she had fallen out of a second story window. Chantella was on life support, fighting for her life, for 48 hours before her tiny, eight month old body just couldn't do it any more and she died. Police reported that her mother, Chanel Boyd, who was 16 years old at the time, had thrown her against the wall and onto the wooden arm rest of a chair. Before the end of things, Chanel had a different story to tell about what happened that day.

Chanel had grown up in Chicago, or at least that is where she was growing up. Chanel was raised by her grandparents because her mother did drugs and was only around when she wanted to be. The neighborhood where Chanel grew up was not a good place to raise children, having a high crime rate as well as being full of drugs. There were choices that could be made, a person could either do drugs and participate in crime, or they could choose not to do those things. Chanel made the wrong choices and she started drinking and smoking pot at a young age. Even with doing drugs and alcohol, she did manage to stay in school and make good grades. Chanel's grandmother and aunt knew about her drug and alcohol use and at first, they tried to get her stop, eventually, they realized there was nothing they could do about it. Chanel said this about her life growing up:

"I was rambunctious as a kid. I was hard headed. I did what I wanted to do. My grandma adopted us when we was young cause my mom was on drugs. It was six of us, three girls and three boys. My daddy didn't stay too far away, so he was in my life too. My mom was so addicted that she'd stay gone for days, or maybe even weeks, not sleep, eat or do> nothing, but smoke crack, even day. If I see her on the street, she be looking so bad and I would walk right past her. I was spoiled by everybody, my auntie's, uncles, grandparents,
Anything I wanted, I got"

When Chanel became a teenager, she started to rebel and argue with her grandmother, they were not close and they didn't get along very well at all. Chanel thought life was one big party where she could hang out with her friends and have fun all the time. It was during this time that Chanel began to drink and do drugs every day"

"I was very worried for Chanel because I didn't want her to go out there and get into any
kind of trouble.
Janis Lewis - Aunt

Chanel was eventually expelled from school for fighting. When she was in eighth grade, Chanel's little brother told her that some other kids had jumped on him so she went to school the next day and got into fights with the children who were younger than she was.

At the age of 14, Chanel met a 17 year old boy named Jermaine Mullen. Jermaine was said to be a drug dealer and that Chanel thought he was a bad boy with money and a nice car and was immediately attracted to him for that reason. Chanel started not coming home at night and eventually that lead to staying away for days at a time, she ended up dropping out of school. Chanel made the decision to start selling drugs and moving in with Jermaine at the home of his grandparents. By the age of 15, Chanel was pregnant. Chanel says she was scared and she didn't want to get an abortion because that was killing a baby. Chanel was able to hide her pregnancy for almost six months. In January of 1997, Jermaine was arrested and set to serve a prison sentence, Chanel went back to the home of her grandparents and it was obvious that she was going to have a baby. Chanel decided it was time to get her life back in order and to become the adult she knew she had to be in order to raise a child, she decided to start by enrolling back in school.

Chanel would never enroll in school because she started to sell more drugs and on January 29, she delivered a beautiful baby girl who she named Chantella:

"Chantella was born, May 29, 1997. I cried all day, the first day. The first time I held her,
I was happy.
She was a quiet, happy baby. She never really cried, the only time she cried
is when she thought I was leaving"

Chanel bonded with her baby daughter Chantella real good. She really loved her.
She really wanted to be a good mom"
Janis Lewis - Aunt

Chanel's grandmother even thought Chanel was a good mother and that Chantella was healthy and happy. Chanel now had to figure out life as a single mother. One thing was sure, she missed being with her friends and partying, since she was still a teenager, she wanted to do what other teenagers were doing. In 1997, Jermaine was released from prison and Chanel made the decision to move in with him. According to Chanel, she and Jermaine fought, even getting physical a lot and she thought he was cheating on her. Jermaine wasn't helping much with the baby and she said he was selling drugs again. Chanel said the physical fights were coming weekly at that point:

"After she moved with him and she would come here and I would notice that she had bandages on her arm, so I would say "What happened to your arm" and she said "Oh, the iron fell on my arm". I found out later that Jermaine had burned her with the iron, hit her in the eye, twice, made it blood shot and gave her a black eye"

When questioned by police, Jermaine at first denied that he had hit Chanel though he later told police that he had hit her one time and that when she got angry with him, she would take it out on Chantella by shaking her and throwing her on the couch. Jermaine says that her told her not to take her anger at him, out on the baby.

Chanel eventually changed her story to say that the baby had been crying and Jermaine had become annoyed with the crying and had put a pillow over her face to stop the crying. Chanel got him to remove the pillow and Chantella was struggling to catch her breath, crying even harder. According to Chanel, Jermaine then took the bay and beat her head against the wall and when she still cried, he did it one more time and she was not crying any more after that.

Chanel said that on February 17, 1998, Chantella's crying started and that's when she and Jermaine started fighting because he wanted the baby to be quiet. Chanel says she got up, changed Chantella's diaper and made her a bottle and even then, she did not stop crying. Jermaine became angry and picked up the baby and that's when he used the pillow over her face and s. Chanel says she tried to get Jermaine to stop hurting her daughter and he did not stop until she was no longer crying.

Chantella had a cracked skull and bleeding on her brain. Doctors did surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain. Police questioned Jermaine and Chanel and Chanel stuck to her first story, telling them that her daughter had fallen. It was obvious that they didn't believe her. Jermaine said that he had come home the night before and gone to bed and that the next morning, Chanel woke him up and told him the baby was on the floor having trouble breathing. Chanel was sent home with her family in hopes that they could get her to tell the truth and Jermaine was held in jail, over night on suspicion that he had been the one to hurt this little Angel. Chanel sat and cried and her aunt said she was in shock and wouldn't talk at all.

On February 18, Chanel told police she wanted to see her daughter and then she would talk. Chanel didn't stay long at the hospital because seeing her daughter with all the tubes in her body upset her. Chanel would tell police that she had a headache on Valentines day and that Chantella would not stop crying and she ended up throwing her against the wall and and that for three days she had not eaten hardly anything. Jermaine told police that Chanel didn't like that he could come and go as he pleased while she was stuck at home with Chantella.

Chanel was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. Jermaine was arrested and charged as well for what they call accountability, which means he knew what was happening to Chantella and did nothing to protect or help her. Two days after she was admitted to the hospital, baby Chantella died and Chanel said:

"I knew she was gone, but I still, I still didn't know how to react to it. I didn't process it then and it still took me years to process it, after the fact"

After Chantella died, the charges against Jermaine and Chanel were changed to first degree murder. Though she was only 16 years old, she Chanel would be tried as an adult and Frank Madea would be her lawyer:

"She told me Jermaine was an abusive partner, that he's the one who committed
the acts which caused the injuries"

Frank would say that Chanel only confessed under pressure because the police thought she was the one who had hurt and killed her baby:

"Why would I implicate myself? Because the way that they was talking to me already, made me feel like they was saying I did it anyway. I said it because I was still a minor< and I figured they really wasn't gonna do too much of nothing"

Chanel's lawyer said that she didn't tell police that Jermaine did it because she was afraid of him after he grabbed her and told her she'd better not say he did it. In June of 1999, the trial began:

"When I got on the stand, I told the jury that Jermaine smashed my babies head against the wall,
slammed her against the wall"

Frank thought for sure that they had a good change of winning based on his believing what she said, he hoped that the jury would believe it too. On June 9, 1999, the jury found Chanel guilty of first degree murder in the death of her daughter and she was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

"I was totally shocked that they found her guilty. There is no doubt in my mind Chanel didn't do this.
I saw how she loved that baby, I saw how she took care of that baby"
Janis Lewis - Aunt

Frank felt that since Chanel had lied in the beginning, that the jury felt she was also lying on the stand and that was a factor in finding her guilty.

"40 years is a long time for a 16 year old girl for making a mistake. You have to look at what she
knew. She was undereducated, she was poor, she was overwhelmed" Steve Greenberg - Jermaine's defense attorney

Sorry, people don't get to use their upbringing and mistakes THEY make in life, as an excuse for killing a child. It was NOT a mistake, it was the murderer of an innocent little baby who depended on her mother to take care of her.

Jermaine was not tried by a jury, he was tried by a Judge the day after Chanel was sentenced. Jermaine's statement saying that he was not there when the baby had been hurt and the fact that there was no evidence to show that he was, meant that he was found not guilty.

Chanel now regrets moving in with Jermaine:

"I was fine until he got out of jail. I should have just stayed at home, but I didn't. I lied
when I said I threw my baby up against the wall, Jermaine did it. I think that I shouldn't
have been the only one to go to jail, whether I did it or not. I still hold a lot of resentment
towards him. I think about Chantella a lot, every day. Her smile, she was a playful baby.
That's what I remember. When I think about her, they all good thoughts"

Death Occurred in the state of Maryland

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