Columbia man charged with murder for baby's death - WKRN News 2

Columbia man charged with murder for baby's death

Posted: Updated: March 24, 2014 02:39 PM CDT
Michael Bonee, 25, is charged with first degree murder and is being held without bond. Michael Bonee, 25, is charged with first degree murder and is being held without bond.
Eight-month-old Sandra Cates died March 20, 2014. Eight-month-old Sandra Cates died March 20, 2014.
Michael Bonee in court March 21, 2014. Michael Bonee in court March 21, 2014.
COLUMBIA, Tenn. -

A Columbia man accused of killing his girlfriend's infant daughter will remain jailed without bond.

Michael Bonee appeared briefly in a Maury County courtroom Monday afternoon where he was set to be arraigned for the first degree murder of eight-month-old Sandra Cates.

The little girl died of severe head trauma Thursday at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

But, the judge said there would be a delay because the public defender's office has a conflict of interest in representing Bonee.

The office previously defended his girlfriend who is the mother of the victim.

Bonee was sent back to jail while the judge searches for a private attorney.

Baby Sandra was rushed to the hospital Tuesday evening after her mother, Miranda Collins, found her unresponsive at her Theta Pike mobile home.

Family members said Collins, 23, had left her daughter with Bonee.  The child was unresponsive when she returned.

Bonee, who has a history of domestic assault and was sentenced to a year in jail for abusing his child seven-year-old son in July of 2011, reportedly dropped the baby on her head.

Bonee also faces vandalism charges for damage he caused to an interview room after his arrest. Police said he head-butted a wall.

The judge also revoked his probation on an unrelated drug charge.  

Collins' grandfather, Ricky Collins said he was unaware Bonee had a violent past and told News 2 he had not dated his granddaughter very long.

The family said they are devastated and said Sandra was happy and beautiful.

"Someone who could do this to a baby does not need to be out in the public.  I feel sorry for him to be able to do that to a child.  He has got to be sick," Sandra's great aunt Betty Martin said.

"It's hard. It's hard to comprehend. I guess you can say," grandmother Jennifer Cates added. "It's heartbreaking to know that someone could do that to a child."

Family members said Sandra's organs will be donated to help babies in need.

"[She will be able] to give life to so many other children, in the midst of this," family friend Dawn Nichols said.  

"When people make the decision to become an organ donor, they are taking the opportunity to save and enhance lives," DCI Donor Services Perri DuGard said.

According to Tennessee donor service, every 10 minutes a new person is added to the organ transplant waiting list. Eighteen people die each die because of not receiving a needed transplant.

"Anyone who makes that decision is very noble in their efforts," DuGard said.

For more information on organ donation, visit dcids.org.

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