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Accused baby-killer has first court appearance
Cortney Bell accused of second-degree murder in Caliyah Bell's 2017 death
Cortney Marie Bell faces Newton County Probate Judge Melanie Bell (not pictured) during a first apperance on murder and child-cruelty charges Monday morning, Jan. 8, 2018, at the Newton County Jail in Covington. A sheriff's deputy escorted Cortney Bell for the hearing, which lasted only about two minutes. - photo by Darryl Welch

COVINGTON, Ga. – Accused baby-killer Cortney Marie Bell made her first appearance before a Newton County judge on the charges Monday morning.

Bell, 27, accused in the October death of her 15-day-old daughter, Caliyah, was indicted by a grand jury Friday on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree cruelty to children and contributing to deprivation of a minor.


Cortney Bell makes first appearance

Cortney Marie Bell makes her first appearance before Probate Judge Melanie Bell on Monday morning, Jan. 8, 2018, at the Newton County Jail. Cortney Bell was indicted Friday on charges including second-degree murder, cruelty to children and deprivation of a minor.
By: Jackie Gutknecht

All are felonies, and Probate Judge Melanie Bell said Cortney Bell will not be eligible for a probable-cause hearing because that was done by the grand jury.

She was arrested by law enforcement Saturday in Conyers after a nearly 24-hour search.

Melanie Bell read the charges, and Cortney Bell asked for the court’s help to see if she qualifies for the use of a public defender.

Arraignment will follow in the next week by Alcovy Judicial Circuit Chief Judge John Ott in Newton County Superior Court. Ott will consider any request for bond.

The Covington News was one of only two media outlets in the courtroom at the Newton County Jail as Melanie Bell read the charges. Two sheriff’s deputies escorted Cortney Bell during the hearing, which only lasted about two minutes.

Caliyah McNabb’s father, Christopher Michael McNabb, was arrested after the discovery of the child’s death in October. The grand jury indicted him Friday on charges of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of felony murder, second-degree murder, aggravated battery, first-degree child cruelty, second-degree child cruelty and concealing the death of another person. He remains in the Newton County Jail.

Managing Editor Jackie Gutknecht and Editor and Publisher David Clemons contributed to this report.