Charge upgraded to murder for DeKalb mother of 4-year-old who shot herself in car

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The mother of a 4-year-old who shot herself now faces a murder charge in her daughter’s death.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones was inside the courtroom when a judge told 26-year-old Kaelin Lewis she now faces a murder charge.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

That’s after DeKalb County police said her 4-year-old daughter, Kendall, found her mother’s gun under the driver’s seat as they drove on Interstate-85 near North Druid Hills Sunday. Police said Kendall shot and killed herself.

Lewis was charged with felony cruelty to children, 2nd degree. Then in court for a first appearance hearing Tuesday, the magistrate judge said she was also charged with murder. The judge asked Lewis if she understood the charges. “Yes,” the young mother replied.

The judge did not explain the allegations that led to the murder charge. So Channel 2′s Tom Jones got the warrant.


It says Lewis faces felony murder in the second degree, having —while in the commission of child cruelty — “allowed her unrestrained child to access a loaded and primed pistol. Which the 4- year-old used to accidently kill herself.”

People outside the courtroom were confused about the murder charge, because the warrant says it was an accident.

“That’s not murder. It should be another charge I feel, because murder is with intent,” Deonte Smith said.

Cathy Baillis admitted she wasn’t up to speed on Georgia law. And didn’t know much about the case. But she was also confused about the murder charge.

“It means you’re intending that and so that’s hard for me to think that she would intend for her child to (do) that,” she said.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

The DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office says it didn’t want to comment right now about the case. It said it still has to speak with Lewis and continue its investigation.

Kendall’s grandmother says she shone a light wherever she went. And her vivacious, bubbly spirit would brighten the darkest days.

Lewis is being held without bond until she can go before a Superior Court judge.


Comments on this article