Father, stepmother charged with capital murder in death of 14-month-old Claiborne Co. child given $1M bond

Claiborne Co. parents charged in toddler's death

CLAIBORNE COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - The father and stepmother of a 14-month-old child in Claiborne County have been charged in her death.

Morris Bevily IV and TKia Bevily are being charged with capital murder in the death of Jurayah Smith.

According to Claiborne County Sheriff Frank Davis: Morris and TKia Bevily were each given $1 million bond.

14-month old Jurayah Smith died on October 22 in 2017. She was in the care of her father Morris and stepmother Tkia Bevily.

Following their arrest, the child’s biological mother, Dedreuna Smith, relived the pain of discovering her daughter not breathing in the Bevilys home. She said she has waited a year and a half for justice and answers.

“He walked me all through the house. I asked ‘where’s Jurayah?’ and that’s when we got into the room and there she was in the crib,” said Smith. “And she was on her back and her eyes were closed and her mouth was closed. Her lips were kinda like a greenish color. You could tell she had been dead for a long time and she was cold.”

Jurayah Smith; Source: DeDreuna Smith
Jurayah Smith; Source: DeDreuna Smith

Smith posted the child’s initial pathological exam on social media and demanded justice.

The document listed that the baby died from multiple blunt head trauma. The manner of her death was described as a homicide.

The Sheriff and Claiborne Co. District Attorney Alexander Martin said they were waiting on the official autopsy from the State Crime Lab before proceeding with any arrests.

“We have been waiting since October of 2017 for a report back from the Crime Lab on their findings or the cause of death,” said Davis. “We just got the report in Monday. I think you know it’s been an issue about going ahead and making an arrest. We wanted a complete autopsy report."

The sheriff said the Bevilys moved to the New Orleans, Louisiana, area following Jurayah’s death.

The couple is being held at the Claiborne County Detention Center.

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