Beckley woman accused of killing infant goes to trial

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – More than four years ago, an infant was tragically killed in their home. The parents, Ariel and Andrew Bennett, were accused of gross child neglect which led to the infant’s death. Now, the trial is finally underway.

On November 7th, 2015, Ariel Bennett was allegedly intoxicated after drinking alcoholic beverages given to her by her husband. Afterward, she was allegedly left alone with her three kids, before falling unconscious and rolling on top of her infant child.

After the incident, Andrew and Ariel Bennett were charged with child neglect resulting in death and two counts of gross child neglect.

Upon finding the child unresponsive, the couple took it to the hospital, where it was pronounced dead.

According to Detective Morgan Bragg, one of the officers who originally responded to the death of the child, Ariel seemed nonchalant in response to hearing her child had died. She responded simply with an “oh, ok,” and displayed no discernable emotion.

After the incident, police and child protective services were called to Bennett’s home. officers say their home was in disarray, with cluttered rooms and a moldy kitchen. One officer even described the living conditions of the home as deplorable, comparing it to abandoned and condemned houses he’s previously seen.

Bennett’s two other toddler-aged children were removed from the home by CPS.

Now, Ariel Bennett’s trial is finally underway after more than four years since the incident in which her child had died. She has previously denied pleas involving child abuse charges. Her husband Andrew initially pleaded guilty to his child neglect charges and is set to serve 1-5 years in prison.

Prosecuting Attorney for Raleigh County, Kristen Keller, is leading the prosecuting team for the trial. During which she has thus far called multiple officers who worked on the case to serve as witnesses.

The trial will continue through the week and conclude on Thursday.