by: Mark Becker Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Garmarea Bennett stood outside the Mecklenburg County courthouse, surrounded by friends and family, and made it abundantly clear that her son, Antonio Cathey, could not have killed 17-month-old Kyiemani Brewer.
"He loved kids. So I don't know where this is coming from," Bennett said.
Cathey's grandfather picked it up from there.
"He didn't never do nothing to mess up kids. He loved kids. So that ain't nothing but lies," said Henry Bennett.
Cathey, and his girlfriend, Jade Butler, did not say anything as they both made their first court appearances since they were arrested on murder and child abuse charges Tuesday.
Police aren't discussing their evidence, but Friday night they were called to the Little Rock apartments on West Boulevard, and when they got there they found that Kyiemani was not breathing.
An ambulance took her to the hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead.
Detectives interviewed Cathey and Butler and then filed the charges against both.
Butler's family also attended her first appearance on Tuesday but left without talking to reporters.
But Cathey's family stopped to talk at length, saying that Kyiemani had a medical condition that made her bones brittle and that DSS workers had seen her bruised within the last two months, but had cleared Cathey and Butler of any wrongdoing.
They said that once detectives and prosecutors learn more about her condition, they will do the same.
"Once they do the work they're supposed to do, they're going to find out that Antonio Cathey is innocent, Jade Butler is innocent," Garmarea Bennett said.