One of five people accused in the deaths of two young girls on a Norwood-area farm has agreed to plead guilty to an accessory charge, which would avoid a child abuse conviction and could allow him to be free within a year.
Farm owner Frederick “Alec” Blair owned the farm where Makayla Roberts, 10, and Hannah Marshall, 8, died, according to The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction. The girls were kept in a car without food or water for weeks before their bodies were found.
Madani Ceus faces murder charges along with Nashika Bramble, the girls’ mother. Two other adults, Ika Eden and Ashford Archer, face charges of fatal child abuse.
The Daily Sentinel reported that prosecutors offered to drop the child abuse counts in exchange for Blair’s guilty plea on the accessory charge.
According to an affidavit, Blair told San Miguel County Sheriff investigators that he met a group of nine people, including four children, at a gas station outside Grand Junction in May 2017 and invited them to use the land. He soon joined the group members living there in tents and cars.
Blair said Ceus, a 37-year-old Haitian, told the others to call her “Ama” or “Yahweh” and ordered that the girls stay in a car without food or water because they were “unclean.”
Ceus told police that she had provided food for the group but later told Bramble she couldn’t keep doing it.
According to the affidavit, Blair told his father about the girls’ deaths on Sept. 8. Blair’s father, who was visiting Colorado from Texas, called the sheriff’s office, and deputies the found the girls’ mummified bodies inside a gray car.
Blair later told police that he believed the girls died in June.
Blair’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 27.
Ceus and Bramble face two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of child abuse resulting in death. Ceus faces trial in August; Bramble, in December.
Eden and Archer were charged with two counts of child abuse resulting in death and a single accessory count, according to The Daily Sentinel, and face trials in July and August, respectively.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.