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Defendant: Murder Charge 'Huge Misunderstanding'

Posted July 9, 2007

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— Bond was denied Monday to a Spring Lake man accused of killing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter.

Antonio Byrd, 24, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Miracle McLean. Byrd, the live-in boyfriend of Miracle's mother, rushed the unconscious girl to the Anderson Creek Fire Department station on July 2, and she was later pronounced dead at Womack Army Medical Center.

Investigators said Byrd claimed Miracle drowned, but an autopsy determined she died of blunt force trauma.

A belt, a bed comforter, an adult T-shirt, a child's plastic belt and a child's pair of pants were among 10 items seized from a mobile home near Spring Lake where Byrd and the toddler's family lived, according to a search warrant.

Byrd made no statement during a brief court appearance Monday morning, but his attorney said Byrd plans to made a videotaped statement to authorities within the next few days.

Defense attorney Jesse Jones said Byrd is very emotional about the situation and continues to maintain his innocence.

"He just said he didn't do it, (that) this is a huge misunderstanding," Jones said. "It's kind of hard to talk to him because he's always crying."

Jones refused to discuss the circumstances of the toddler's death.

Byrd has lived with Miracle's mother, Sheteka McDougald, for more than a year, according to family members.

Christine McDougald, Sheteka McDougald's mother, said she believes Byrd is innocent. He would never have intentionally hurt Miracle or her 3-year-old sister, Zahane, she said.

"He treated them like his kids. That's what he said, 'These are my kids,' and he loved them," Christine McDougald said. "In my heart, I don't believe that (he killed her). Accidents happen, and nobody was there (at the home) but them."

Sheteka McDougald and Sherron McLean, Miracle's father, didn't attend Monday's court hearing. McLean lives in Greensboro, and Christine McDougald said her daughter is stunned by the events of the past week.

"She's lost her whole family," she said. "When you love somebody, you love him, and it's hard for her to believe that he did something intentional to her child."

Zahane McLean is in foster care, relatives said.

A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Byrd on July 17.


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  • Fuquay Resident Jul 11, 2007

    You poor poor clueless people!! The evidence against this man is so strong, if you only knew half of what they have on this guy. The truth will come out in court and then I wonder how many people he will have sticking up for him then.

  • PursuitOfHappiness Jul 11, 2007

    I'm glad someone finally pointed out that Harnett County's DA's office is in a mess. A week prior to this incident Superior Court Judge Lanier publicly criticized the DA's office stating he was "totally disgusted" and that the office was a "mess" and totally "chaotic." His issue was that criminals were being treated too leniently with unfair plea bargains. There has been a public outcry since these statements were made public calling for harsher sentences and justice. So please, don't let these charges lull you into thinking investigators and the DA have the evidence to support it. This DA is under fire and has an agenda just like Mike Nifong.

  • truthbeknown Jul 10, 2007

    con't: not by making an example of somone's life who is totally innoncent. Look's like we need to get some people involved: NAACP and other civial rights activist; I'm sure Harnett County could use someone to get them in check!

  • truthbeknown Jul 10, 2007

    You know what you people who are posting comments about someone you don't even know need to shut the hell up and check yourself. I've known tony since he was five years old. Tony has completed high school and has done well within the community. Tony has nevr gotten into trouble with the law or while in school. We have not been put onto this earth to judge, that is not our place-innoncent until proven guilty needs to be the forfront of everyone's minds. I'm sure the law enforcements are aware of where the trauma took place and have a pretty good idea of what might have happend, but it still an unforutnate event for this young man who has never done any harm to anyone get stuck in the middle of Harnett county's issues of not handling their previous situations appropriately. That should be everyone's concern at the moment and not trying to prove a point with someone's life to hush everyone up about "Harnett County getting on the right track"

  • common_sense_plz Jul 10, 2007

    It is a shame that this child had to die at the hands of someone else...whom ever it is. It is obvious that the child did not drown, and that some body had to slam her against something or hit her with somehting since she died of blunt force trauma. But at whomever hands this child died, they will have their day.

  • ladyblue Jul 10, 2007

    Winston we can't answer that. Obviously you wouldn't believe anything any way if you have to ask this question. Maybe God wanted to take that little girl to a better place with him because of the hurt and pain she was experiencing on earth. The picture always bothered me how Miracle looked sad, like she won't happy. That haunted me.

  • richard2 Jul 10, 2007

    get all the facts before making a judgement.

  • jeebk04 Jul 10, 2007

    bsmith, no evidence has been released to public yet. All that has been released as facts are that she died from cardiac arrest and that it is being TREATED/INVESTIGATED as homicide. However, some of the other posters do make a good point in saying that they have to evidence to charge(supposedly). But, are not releasing to public as to not "taint jury pool". Hope this helps.

  • bsmith17603 Jul 10, 2007

    Since I have not kept up with this case I again ask??? Could someone please give me the HARD and CONCRETE evidence as to why they are charging this man with murder( other than the fact that he had the little one in his possession) Is theirevidence of blood stains , blunt trauma, etc an d why have they linked him and not some other relative or the mother.

    I repectfully ask someone to please email me and just give me some highlights. People seem to what to bash other individuals in this forum instead of answering someones question( Plain and simple)

  • bsmith17603 Jul 10, 2007

    daMoFo :Culturally diverse by the way is looking at the entire person and learning about the persons practices and culture. Trying to understand someone from their point of view.
    As a medical profession I can not judge someone by race, creed or color. I have to try to understand the individual in order to help someone and treat them respectfully. Their are many different cultures in life and I can not assume that when I take care of an AMerican that I treat a Mideastern the same way