Teen charged in murder of 18-year-old mother

Cleo Nelson
Cleo Malik Nelson is arraigned on June 22, 2017.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A 16-year-old is charged with murder in the gun slaying of an 18-year-old mother — a crime to which police say he confessed.

Cleo Malik Nelson was arraigned Thursday for allegedly killing Kiara Carter on March 20.

“He is not new to the system,” Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Kellee Koncki told Grand Rapids District Court Judge David Buter. “He has a violent past.”

Koncki said Nelson’s juvenile record included weapons violations and he was on probation for assault with intent to do great bodily harm.

The judge agreed to move Nelson from juvenile detention to the Kent County Correctional Facility, where he will be separated from adults.

Nelson allegedly killed Carter, the mother of a 1-year-old girl, at a home on Kalamazoo Avenue near Worden Street SE. She was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head.

In a probable cause affidavit, police say that when he was questioned, Nelson admitted to killing Carter.

At the time of the shooting, Grand Rapids police said possibly more than 15 people were in the apartment when she was shot, but only one was still there by the time officers arrived. Police described the apartment as “troubled,” saying there were reports of shots fired and possible drug activity last summer.