DECATUR – The father of 4-year-old Amarrah C. Reynolds, who was beaten to death Aug. 31 in her Decatur home, is facing a prison sentence of 20 years to life, after he was arraigned Thursday on two counts of first-degree murder.
Darrell A. Reynolds, 29, appeared in Macon County Circuit Court, where the judge handed him the information sheets containing his charges.
Reynolds is looking at a possible life sentence, instead of the 60-year limit in many first-degree murder cases, because the victim was younger than 12 and “the death resulted from exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty,” according to the charging documents filed by the Macon County State's Attorney's Office.
He is due back in court Sept. 28 for his preliminary hearing.
The child's mother, Dalvon Taylor, 26, is scheduled to be arraigned today on one count of endangering the life or health of a child, punishable by a sentence of two to 10 years.
Law enforcement officials who have seen the autopsy photos of the girl said there were bruises or scars all over her body.
Reynolds, who is being held in jail on a $2 million bond, has retained attorney William Vig of Springfield. Taylor, who is being held on a $500,000 bond, will tell the court today whether she has hired a private attorney.
Reynolds confessed to police that “I just killed my daughter” during an interview after Amarrah was transported to Decatur Memorial Hospital in an unresponsive state, said an affidavit by a police detective. She was pronounced dead at 4:51 p.m. Aug. 31.
During the police interview, Reynolds told police he struck Amarrah so many times with a belt that he lost count.
“Darrell said he struck Amarrah in the head, body and legs with the belt,” the detective wrote in his statement.
Taylor told police that Reynolds had been abusing their daughter for about two years.
“Dalvon stated the abuse typically consisted of Darrell hitting Amarrah in the face and torso, hitting her forcefully with a belt numerous times, which caused welts to her arms, back, legs, and torso, severe pinching, and grabbing the back of her neck and lifting her off the ground.” Taylor said she also saw Reynolds kick Amarrah as she lay on the floor.
Taylor said Reynolds was also abusive to her, which prevented her from reporting the abuse to police or child protection officials.
A police official noted that Reynolds “tortured” the girl. The affidavit stated that “injuries to the inside of her thigh appear consistent with severe pinch marks that punctured the flesh.”