EVANSVILLE, Ind.(WEHT)- An Evansville man accused of murdering his own infant son plead guilty in court today. The baby’s mother, also behind bars, charged with neglect. The community came out to remember the boy, too small and vulnerable to speak up for himself.
Outside of a home on East Illinois Street, candles line the walkway as people gather to honor 3-month-old Kieran Bengert who was murdered last week.
“We’ve got to watch out for each other and be there no matter what. These kids are our future,” said one neighbor.
Kieran’s father, Jacob Bengert, was arrested and charged with Kieran’s death after a manhunt that lasted for over 24 hours. On Monday, he plead not guilty in court.
“I tried to think of what I can do that will help this situation, what can I do that would bring light to what’s going on,” said neighbor Kenny Branson.
An emotional crowd, including some strangers and neighborhood children, sang, prayed, hugged and brought toys and pictures to be used at Kieran’s funeral.
“It’s just hard when I think like, maybe if I would’ve maybe came over again sometime? You always think what if I would’ve come over one more time and I didn’t. I think that’s a bigger thing that needs to kinda come out too, we all need to look out for everyone else. It’s a community, its not just an individual,” said Branson.
“There’s purpose in life and even though the baby only lived 3 months, there was purpose in the baby’s life. It takes time, time will help us to adjust, not to heal but to adjust,” said Floyd Edwards Sr. Pastor at Mount Olive Galilee Baptist Church in Evansville.
The coroner’s office said the infant died after suffering massive blunt force trauma. The affidavit said the baby had facial injuries, burns to his face and chest and what appear to be cigarette burns on his hands and feet.
“I thought it was an accident, it has to be an accident. Somethig had to have happened, maybe the baby did fall, but then when you find all the other injuries that baby encured, there’s no justification for that,” said Branson.
“If you love somebody, it doesnt’ matter how long they live, love does not die,” said Edwards.
While the vigil was happening, Kieran’s mother sat in a jail cell. Chelsea Marksberry was arrested on neglect charges. She is being held on a $20,000 cash bond.
(This story was originally published on January 13, 2020)