An East Chicago man has been charged in the November accidental shooting death of a 4-year-old girl in Lebanon, Indiana.
Her fatal wound came from a gun that didn't work properly and could only fire one shot at a time, the suspect reportedly told police.
Darrell W. Marberry, 63, was arrested at his home last week and is being held in the Lake County Jail, pending extradition to Boone County, police said. He is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, a level 3 felony.
Four-year-old Izabella Marie Helem died after her 3-year-old brother accidentally shot her with an unsecured gun he found at their grandmother's home in Lebanon on Nov. 29.
Marberry left the handgun that shot Izzy under a couch on which he'd slept as a guest of the children's grandmother, Lakecia Rodriquez, according to a probable cause affidavit. Mulberry is Rodriquez' ex-husband, police said.
Marberry had lived with Rodriquez about a month to help her care for Izzy and her brother and sister, Rodriquez reportedly told police. She babysat them on weekdays. Marberry cared for the children alone after Rodriquez went to work in the afternoons, according to court records.
Marberry told police he had a handgun because someone tried to break into his car and he kept it under the couch at night and put it in a closet in the mornings but forgot that day, according to court records. He said the safety was on, police reported.
Rodriquez told police she thought the pistol was in a closet and that she and Marberry argued over his having a gun in the house because she so frequently had her grandchildren there, according to court records.
Marberry told police the magazine for his Cobra FS380 was inoperable and the gun would fire only one round at a time -- the one in the firing chamber, Lebanon Police Det. Bryan Spencer reported.
Rodriquez was in her bedroom and Marberry was in the kitchen when they heard a loud pop and ran into the living room to find Izzy slumped over the couch, her brother next to her with his hands over his ears, and the gun between the two, police reported.
Izzy and her brother had been watching cartoons, while their older sister was at school at the time of the shooting, about 10 a.m., police said.
Izzy died Dec. 4 from her injuries. Eight children received organ donations from her.
She was the daughter of Alonzo and Briana 'Bre' Helem.
Boone Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Edens issued a no contact order that prohibits Marberry from contacting the Helems for an indefinite period.
Bre is a member of the United States Army and was on assignment driving to Fort Knox, Ky., when she received word of the accident. This is Bre's ninth year in the Army. Prior to enlisting, she was a reserve police officer with the Lebanon Police Department. She and Alonzo have been married nine years and had three children.
The pain of the event, the loss of a child, the judgement of national and social media and the inability to define their new life made living difficult after the accident, Bre said at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, where she and Alonzo stayed at Izzy's bedside until her passing.
"The national news has called my mother reckless and careless," Bre said. "They are blaming her for our daughter's death. Other sources have portrayed us as irresponsible parents. I would like people to know a few things about our family.
"My mom is not a bad person, she is not reckless or careless. She loves our kids so much. This is devastating for her also. Our son is 3 years old. We are working to provide him with counseling. We need to help find a way for him to heal. This is a tragedy for some people, but it is our worst nightmare as parents. We love all our children."
Maria Flora is assistant editor at The Lebanon Reporter. Reach her by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.