Christopher McNabb, left, and Cortney Bell pleaded not guilty Tuesday in the death of their 2-week-old daughter.

Newborn killed: Judge denies request to move trial out of Newton

The trial for parents accused in the death of their newborn daughter in September 2017 will remain in Newton County, a judge ruled Monday afternoon. 

Attorneys for Christopher McNabb and Cortney Bell had filed a motion seeking to move the trial due to the amount of publicity the case has gotten. But after a day of jury selection, only one potential juror was dismissed because of the publicity in the case, though several had heard some details about the baby’s death. 

The death of little Caliyah McNabb made national headlines. Violence and drug use were rampant in her parents’ lives, and little Caliyah survived only two weeks after her birth. After being reported missing, her body was found in the woods near her family’s mobile home. 

Monday afternoon, a jury was selected in the case. Opening statements are expected Tuesday morning. 

Caliyah McNabb’s parents are accused of killing the 2-week-old infant in October. FAMILY PHOTO
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

On Oct. 7, 2017, Bell called 911 to report the baby was missing from the family’s mobile home, launching a frantic search in the community. That evening, McNabb pleaded publicly for Caliyah’s return in front of television cameras. 

The next day, Caliyah’s body was found the next day in nearby woods, a short walk from the trailer. An autopsy determined she died from blunt force trauma to the head.

McNabb was charged with Caliyah’s murder days later. In January 2018, a grand jury indicted him on eight counts, including malice murder, felony murder, second-degree murder, aggravated battery and concealing the death of another. The grand jury indicted Bell on second-degree murder, child cruelty and child deprivation charges.

The baby’s death shocked neighbors and others in the community. More than 5,000 people joined two Facebook groups dedicated to seeking justice for Caliyah. 

“It doesn't matter what county that case may or may not be moved to,” one person posted. “Justice will be served for that beautiful angel.”


RELATED: Why did baby Caliyah have to die?

ALSO: Jury to hear of parents’ violent relationship


Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.