Family holds memorial for Kalamazoo boy, 2, killed by father

The family of a slain Kalamazoo boy held a memorial for the 2-year-old, two days after the murder conviction of his father.

A Kalamazoo County Circuit Court jury on Thursday found Brian K. Roberts, 41, guilty of first-degree murder and child abuse in the January 2014 death of Nehemiah Dodd.

Angelene Dodd released balloons Saturday evening at her son’s grave at Riverside Cemetery.

“I want to let him know personally, as his mom. I love him. I hope (he’s) dancing in heaven,” Dodd told the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Kalamazoo police officers found the boy unconscious Dec. 31, 2013. The boy died two days later.

Roberts originally pleaded guilty to second-degree murder but then withdrew the plea. Second-degree murder carries a sentence of up to life in prison with parole possible, while first-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence without parole.

Judge Paul J. Bridenstiner has scheduled Roberts’ sentencing for April 27.

“Nehemiah was special,” Dodd said. “He danced, he played, he loved the Little Rascals — he could talk the whole movie out,” she reflected. “He loved church, he was just a happy, happy” child.

Dodd said that Nehemiah’s sister Ardasha, 9, and brother Noel, 4, have had a hard time dealing with his death.

After the funeral, Dodd said she discovered the siblings building a structure in her sister’s apartment.

“They were in the kitchen with a big old sheet,” Dodd said. “They put the sheet over the (kitchen) island, used sticks, and had an easy bake oven. I asked. ‘What are you guys doing?’ They said, ‘Making a time machine to go get Nehemiah.'”

“I didn’t know what to say,” the mother said.  (AP)

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