A man accused of killing a 14-month-old girl with a baseball bat in church while trying to settle a score with her father was charged with murdering her on Tuesday.
David Collins, 50, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the death of Aundrea Brownlow, two counts of second-degree attempted murder and one count of second-degree assault. Darryl Kennedy, 42, was charged with one count of second-degree assault. Collins' bail was set at $750,000, and Kennedy's was set at $100,000.
Collins and Kennedy, both of Wheaton, were granted public defenders, but attorneys were not immediately assigned to their cases. They remained in the Traverse County Jail, where inmates are not allowed to take phone calls, and were otherwise unavailable to comment.
Dispute involved $20
According to police, Collins argued last Wednesday with Claude Hankins about $20 Hankins owed Collins and about how a washer and dryer would be transferred to Hankins' home from Collins' home, where it was being stored. The Rev. Danny Barnes of the Thy Kingdom Come Church in Wheaton said Saturday that he gave the washer and dryer to Hankins, and that Collins was upset about it. Hankins, 34, had moved to Wheaton from Pensacola, Fla., about eight months ago.
On Thursday, Collins confronted Hankins at a thrift store in Wheaton, a town of about 1,400 near Minnesota's border with the Dakotas. The two had to be separated, according to a criminal complaint.
Collins then went to Kennedy's apartment, where Kennedy loaned him a baseball bat, and returned to the church, where Hankins was attending a prayer service for a sick church member, Police Chief Michael Johannsen wrote in the complaint.
Collins confronted Hankins at the back of the church while Hankins was trying to seat his daughter and began swinging the bat over Hankins' head, Johannsen wrote. Hankins grabbed a metal chair and managed to stave off several blows, but one hit his daughter in the head above her right ear, the complaint states. Collins fled to Kennedy's, where he threw away the bat, and then to Brookings S.D., 100 miles away, where Barnes, the pastor, found him hours later at a bar.
"Mr. Barnes reported that Mr. Collins made a full confession to him about swinging the bat with the intent to hit Mr. Hankins, but denied knowing that Mr. Hankins' 14-month-old daughter was there," the complaint states.
Man's wife says he didn't see the toddler
Thy Kingdom Come Church caters partly to people with drug and alcohol addictions. Barnes said both Collins and Kennedy appeared to be under the influence of alcohol when they arrived there Thursday.
Aundrea was pronounced dead at a hospital in Fargo, N.D.
According to the complaint, Kennedy confronted Hankins at the church shortly after Aundrea was taken to the hospital. The men tried punching one another but didn't connect, and then Kennedy swung a two-by-four at Hankins but missed.
Hankins told the AP on Saturday he had been Kennedy's best man, but they had a falling out after his wedding last month. He said he had thought the bad blood was behind them.
Collins' wife told the AP on Saturday he didn't see the baby, and that once he realized what happened wanted to kill himself.
Aundrea's funeral was set for Wednesday.